How to protect the workers most-at-risk from extreme heat

qz.com
4 min read
fairly difficult
The effects of extreme heat on workers is becoming more tangible with rising temperatures.
The US just experienced a very hot summer, and the impact has had a tangible impact on labor, from agriculture workers exposed to wildfires in the Pacific northwest to gig workers delivering during floods on the east coast.

The Biden administration announced this week that the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is drafting several measures to protect both outdoor and indoor workers from extreme heat. OSHA will inspect workplaces on days temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and work with employers and labor groups to develop plans to train workers and mitigate the impact of hot days on workers.

Extreme heat doesn't just impact agriculture and construction workers, but also those in manufacturing and warehouses who labor indoors without climate-controlled environments.

The latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 43 workers died from heat illness in 2019. But heat-related injuries and illnesses often go underreported, especially, in sectors that employ vulnerable and undocumented workers.

The consequences of extreme heat on workers

A July study from University of California, Los Angeles, and Stanford found hotter temperatures "significantly increased" the likelihood of injury on the job. The study looked at injury data from the California's worker's compensation system between 2001 and 2018 and linked…
Michelle Cheng
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