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Newsom Must Stand Up for Workers and Implement California Indoor Heat Stress Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the eve of a vote to enact a rule that would protect indoor workers from excessive indoor heat last week, the California Department of Finance withdrew its support for a proposed rule, citing a late adjustment to costs to make California prison workers safe from excessive heat. 

While the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Board (Cal/OSHA) voted to move forward with the rule in its March 21 meeting, the law requires the California Department of Finance to approve a fiscal review for the regulation ahead of the rule being adopted. By retracting the previously submitted Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment — an assessment the California Department of Finance spent years developing — California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration has blocked protection for workers this summer and beyond. Governor Newsom must step in by March 30 in order for the rule to go into effect. If the rule is not in place by March 30, 2024, the rulemaking process would start over. 

Juley Fulcher, worker safety advocate with Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, issued the following statement: 

“Any failure to implement rules that protect workers from the deadly impacts of heat in the workplace is unacceptable. Workers in warehouses, factories, restaurants, bakeries, commercial laundries, prisons and more face sweltering temperatures as summer heat bakes the buildings where they work. As we stare down the barrel of a summer even hotter than the last, California must not delay in implementing heat protections for these workers.

“The government of California was set to protect indoor workers throughout the state with a heat protection rule that was all but final. The Cal/OSHA board unanimously voted for the rule. Governor Newsom must stand up for California workers and must immediately step in to protect the California indoor heat stress rule.” 

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