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Ten State Attorneys General Petition OSHA for an Emergency Heat Standard

With summer approaching, AGs urge Congress to pass the Asuncíon Valdivia Heat Illness, Injury and Fatality Prevention Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attorneys general from 10 states today called on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to implement an Emergency Temporary Standard aimed at protecting workers from excessive heat exposure on the job. Additionally, the coalition, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and joined by the state attorneys general from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, urged congress to promptly pass the Asuncíon Valdivia Heat Illness, Injury and Fatality Prevention Act (S.2501/H.R.4897) which, if passed into law, would direct OSHA to issue an interim heat standard that would remain in place until a permanent heat standard can be finalized. Juley Fulcher, worker health and safety advocate with Public Citizen, issued the following statement.

“Every year excessive heat on the job sickens, injures, or kills as many as 170,000 workers across the nation. It is OSHA’s congressionally mandated responsibility to ensure workers labor in safe and healthful working conditions. 

“Employers cannot control the weather, but they can implement simple safety measures to protect workers from excessive heat, both indoors and outdoors. Yet, far too many employers continue to ignore the damage working in excessive heat is causing for their employees. While providing plenty of drinking water, giving frequent ’cool-down‘ breaks in air-conditioned or shaded spaces, or scheduling the most labor-intensive work during the coolest portions of the day, seem like simple solutions, far too many employers do not take action to protect workers. 

“While OSHA reviews and debates and gives time for corporate executives to lobby, workers are getting injured and dying. Mandating basic life-saving measures in every workplace is a no brainer. 

“The action by states attorneys general to pressure OSHA on an emergency heat standard is a vital step to protecting workers this summer. They join a chorus of voices demanding essential protections for he lives of workers.”

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