Workers have long known that hot and or cold conditions in the workplace affect their ability to perform their work duties safely without harm to themselves, their coworkers, their workplace and their work. The Dept. of Labor has also recognized this and has attempted to rectify the situation through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration‘s Rulemaking Process. However, these attempts have so far met with stringent opposition by Chamber’s of Business and the corporations they represent. This opposition has lead to the continuing life altering injury, illness and far too often the loss of life.
Recently OSHA announced that they were reopening public comment which had closed in 2021. Workers and the general public are encouraged to submit comment on this proposed rulemaking from now until December 23, 2023. You can find more information at https://www.osha.gov/heat-exposure/rulemaking and https://www.osha.gov/heat/sbrefa.
With the continued climate change workers are likely to experience more extreme conditions at work as well as coming to or returning home from work. But this proposed standard isn’t just about agricultural and construction workers. Many other occupations experience temperature extremes during the course of the work day and some require moving between those extremes throughout the work shift. All workers deserve protection from workplace hazards. No worker deserves to become injured, ill or lose their life just because they were trying to keep a roof over their head, some food on the table and live their life. No community should willingly accept the incapacitation or loss of members of that community whether they are residents or visitors.