Jul 3, 2024 | News Story

Biden Administration Takes Action to Protect Workers from Extreme Heat

The Biden Administration and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this week announced that they are proposing a rule to protect workers that, if finalized, would establish the nation’s first-ever federal safety standard addressing excessive heat in the workplace. The risk that extreme heat poses to certain workers has long been recognized – even apart from the impacts of climate change. Recognizing these risks, the proposed rule includes requirements for identifying heat hazards, developing heat illness and emergency response plans, providing training to employees and supervisors, and implementing work practice standards—including rest breaks, access to shade and water, and heat acclimatization for new employees. OSHA projects the rule would affect approximately 36 million workers and substantially reduce heat injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. “As we enter the second summer with temperatures reaching scorching record highs, the Biden administration’s new proposed rule could not be more urgently needed," said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. "Hot and humid conditions have long put indoor and outdoor workers at significant risk of heat-related illness and injury—with workers of color and immigrant workers facing disproportionate risks in many states. If finalized, this new rule would address some of the most basic needs for workers’ health and safety: water, shade, rest breaks, training and acclimatization for working in hot environments." Read more from the Associated Press, NPR, and CBS News.