On July 10th, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act, which would establish a federal standard for heat stress protections by directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to adopt a final standard on the prevention of occupational exposure to excessive heat in both indoor and outdoor environments. The bill is named for Asunción Valdivia, a farmworker who died after picking grapes for a ten-hour shift in 105-degree heat.
“Soaring temperatures already plague Arizona’s workforce, and conditions will only worsen as climate change contributes to more extreme heat conditions,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “By putting an OSHA standard on the books, we can better protect our family members, friends, and neighbors who work in high-risk environments and limit their exposure to dangerous heat conditions.”
Currently there is no federal heat standard to provide high-risk workers such as farmworkers, construction workers, and warehouse workers with protections from dangerous heat conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excessive environmental heat stress killed 783 U.S. workers and seriously injured 69,374 workers from 1992 through 2016.
“Proper hydration, shade, and breaks in cool environments are not ‘perks’—but vital conditions that could make the difference between life and death for thousands of workers,” continued Grijalva. “It’s time that we face the realities of climate change, stand up for our workers, and provide them with the protections they deserve to safely do their job.”
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