Ask Congress to support heat stress standard

The following is from the United Farm Workers:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 28, 2021) — As summer heat bears down on us, the United Farm Workers asks you to email your senators in support of the bills introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Representatives. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep Alma Adams (D-N.C.) that would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to implement a national heat stress standard.

The bills — fittingly called the “Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act” — were named after a 53-year-old farm worker who died in July 2004. He collapsed from heat stroke after working a 10-hour day picking grapes in the 100-degree sun. No ambulance responded because employees were unable to provide the vineyard’s location. Asuncion died in the car as his son tried frantically to reach a hospital.

In recent years, record-high temperatures have been seen across the country. Last summer set new heat records throughout the nation for both high temperatures and number of days at extreme high temperatures — including the hottest temperature on the planet in more than a century. And on Sunday, Portland and Seattle set all-time highs of 112 and 104 degrees Sunday.

We must protect the hard-working people who are working in this extreme heat. These extreme temperatures can make thousands of farm workers and other workers seriously ill. Some could even suffer heat stroke and die.

The legislators who are co-sponsoring this bill recognize that heat illness can be prevented by access to training, water, shade, rest breaks and emergency procedures. But many employers won’t provide these basic needs voluntarily, so federal legislation is needed.

TAKE A STAND Take action and send your email today asking your U.S. Congress members to support these vital bills.

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