Protecting Workers from Heat Stress in a Warming Climate
The UFW Foundation, in collaboration with Public Citizen and Farmworker Justice, is launching a campaign in July 2018 to win worker protections from heat stress through national, state, and local advocacy. In partnership with a growing national network, we are raising awareness around climate change's impacts on the health and safety of workers, as well as other vulnerable populations, and advancing standards to prevent injuries and deaths from heat stress outdoors and indoors.
Excessive heat exposure can cause heat stroke and even death if not treated properly. It also exacerbates other health problems like asthma and heart disease. The current epidemic of heat stress injuries and deaths will worsen in the coming years, as record-breaking summers are now becoming the norm. We need bold action to stop further global warming while also protecting vulnerable populations from the temperature rise that is already locked in. It's critical that we enact heat stress protections before global warming puts even more workers in danger.
The solutions to heat stress are common-sense: hydration, shade, and rest breaks. But most employers won't implement them voluntarily. And despite repeated recommendations by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, OSHA has not adopted a heat stress standard. Three states -- California, Washington, and Minnesota -- and the U.S. military have taken the lead and issued standards or guidance.
Read more about California's new heat regulations here.
There are several initiatives across the country to protect workers from heat exhaustion. We're connecting those efforts through a national coalition with a common goal: preventing heat stress. Through national and state public education campaigns, we can raise awareness of the growing problem of extreme heat -- as well as the need to stop raising temperatures with greenhouse gas pollution. We are building a large, cross-sector coalition comprising labor, public health, environmental justice, environmental, and faith groups to advance this work.
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