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OSHA: workers need heat regs

The following is from the United Farm Workers:

The summer heat has started. A “heat dome” recently brought triple digit temperatures to parts of the Western United States in early June – with temps topping 110° in some areas. It’s the first major heat wave of what’s expected to be another abnormally hot summer. Farm workers and other outdoor workers desperately need a federal heat standard.

The need is more urgent than ever, with the way the government has shifted to the right. Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill which bans local ordinances giving workers water and shade breaks that begins July 1. Texas already passed a similar law last summer that limits local governments from establishing ordinances for mandatory water and shade breaks for outdoor workers.

These state bills are examples of why all farm workers and outdoor workers desperately need federal heat protections. They are more and more in danger every year. Extreme temperatures could make thousands of workers seriously ill – and even suffer heat stroke and die. Heat deaths are preventable tragedies. The solution isn’t complicated: training, shade, cool water and paid rest breaks.

TAKE A STANDSign the UFW petition to OSHA today.

Farm workers are 35 times more likely to die from heat than other occupations. Only a handful of states – California, Oregon and Washington – have policies on farm work in extreme heat. This lack of regulations puts farm workers in an impossible situation where they are forced to choose between making a living and taking care of their health.

Currently, OSHA relies on the “general duty” clause that says employers are expected to provide safe working conditions. Expectations are not enough. Workers need enforceable protections and penalties – including criminal proceedings.

A Department of Labor committee already recommended OSHA pass permanent rules and on June 11, it was announced that the OSHA Worker Heat Stress Proposal is set to be reviewed by the White House Office of Management and Budget. This is a step in the right direction of an ongoing long process, which could take months or even years.

Outdoor workers need more than talk. They need heat standards to be put in place now –before more people dieSign our petition today and demand OSHA enact federal heat regulations for outdoor workers.

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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!