Bill aims to require OSHA to develop heat standard

Posted: Jul 18, 2019

From Business Insurance

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A House of Representatives bill would direct the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to adopt a standard to prevent occupational exposure to excessive heat in both indoor and outdoor environments.

However, some observers say it is unnecessary, given that OSHA can issue its own regulations.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., on Wednesday introduced the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act, which is named for Asunción Valdivia, a farmworker who died after picking grapes for a 10-hour shift in 105-degree heat.

Excessive environmental heat stress killed 783 U.S. workers and seriously injured 69,374 workers from 1992 through 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“While those working in air conditioned offices may not notice, climate change is all too real for the roofer, the warehouse worker, the farmworker and the highway worker who work for eight to 10 or 12 hours a day in record-breaking heat,” said Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., chair of the subcommittee on workforce protections, which conducted a hearing on the bill on Thursday. “According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, this warming trend is likely to only accelerate.”