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Rising temperatures put more US workers at risk of dying from heat

Source(s):  Guardian, the (UK)

By Michael Sainato


Though the climate crisis is creating conditions where workers are facing hotter temperatures on a more frequent basis, there are no federal safety protections for workers in extreme temperatures, and only three states, California, Washington and Minnesota, have heat stress workplace protection standards.


According to projections conducted by the not-for-profit organization Climate Central, the number of dangerous heat days for 133 US cities, will increase from 20 a year on average in 2000 to 58 in 2050. A dangerous heat day is defined as one in which the heat index, accounting for heat and humidity, exceeds 104F (40C).


Earlier this year, she introduced the Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act of 2019, which would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha) to issue and enforce standards to protect workers from heat-related risks on the job.


Now the United Farm Workers and several other organizations are pushing for similar standards to be enforced across the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1992 and 2016, 783 workers in the US died and more than 69,000 workers suffered serious injuries due to heat exposure on the job, though labor advocates argue the real numbers are even higher due to widespread under-reporting and employers misclassifying worker deaths as non-work-related.


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  • Publication date 22 Jan 2020

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