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Washington Post: As temperatures rise, industries fight heat safeguards for workers

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. — In the nearly two decades she has worked in South Florida’s plant nurseries, baking under greenhouse plastic covers, Sandra Ascencio has seen more than her share of misery.

Ascencio remembers seeing the body of a co-worker several years ago crumpled in the parking lot as paramedics tried to revive her. The woman struggled with asthma in hot weather and may have been trying to reach her air-conditioned car, Ascencio said.

In 2008, Ascencio collapsed while working at a different nursery. She said she suffered heatstroke, lost consciousness and spent a week in the hospital.

Today, she belongs to a growing group of immigrant laborers in South Florida pushing for what many health experts say is the best way to prevent heatstroke as temperatures reach new extremes: a law requiring employers to provide outdoor workers with drinking water, shade and rest breaks on hot days.

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