WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a White House event today, President Joe Biden will call on the U.S. Department of Labor to issue the first ever “Heat Hazard Alert” to protect workers and push the Department to ramp up enforcement. According to the event brief, the “Hazard Alert will reaffirm that workers have heat-related protections under federal law.” Juley Fulcher, worker health and safety advocate with Public Citizen, issued the following statement:
“It is fitting for President Biden to push for protections from the heat in what will likely be the hottest month in recorded history. While OSHA is able to educate employers and inspect workplaces for heat hazards, it is a band-aid for a problem that won’t be solved until employers are required to protect workers. OSHA has limited options to hold employers accountable for failing to implement basic safety protocols to protect workers from extreme heat. Only a workplace heat standard will give OSHA the tools to fully protect workers. As OSHA labors to create that rule, time is of the essence; workers need protections now.
“Today’s event brings much needed attention to the dangers workers face when temperatures surge. Yet, when millions of Americans face working conditions nearly incompatible with human life, real actions to protect workers need to be first and foremost in our priorities. While industry attempts to stall OSHA’s rule on Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work, workers will die. We hope the administration will act decisively to accelerate the rulemaking process.”
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