The bill would direct OSHA to put an interim worker heat protection rule in place until a permanent rule is finalized
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an effort to protect workers from extreme heat in the middle of record-setting heat across the country, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and Alma Adams (D-N.C.), today introduced the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness, Injury and Fatality Prevention Act in both the U.S. House and Senate.
The legislation, named for Asunción Valdivia, who died in 2004 after picking grapes for ten hours straight in 105-degree temperatures, would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to establish an interim heat standard to protect workers until a permanent standard is finalized.
“Every worker deserves to make it home to their families and loved ones, alive and well, no matter how hot their workplace,” said Juley Fulcher, worker health and safety advocate at Public Citizen. “It should not be an extreme ask for employers with workers in hot locations to provide consistent access to cool drinking water and work breaks away from the deadly heat. As the rulemaking process drags on, and as Big Businesses lobby against these protections that provide basic human decency, workers’ lives are at stake. Action to prevent heat related deaths like Asunción’s needs to happen quickly.”
After decades of lobbying from Public Citizen and other advocacy organizations, OSHA began the worker heat stress rule process in October of 2021. A report released this year from Public Citizen found that heat exposure is responsible for as many as 2,000 worker fatalities in the U.S. each year, and an additional 170,000 workers in the U.S. are injured in heat stress related accidents annually.
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