WASHINGTON—Asunción Valdivia was solely 53 years previous when he died of warmth stroke after working a 10-hour shift choosing grapes in 105-degree temperatures. Right this moment, members of Congress launched the Asunción Valdivia Warmth Sickness and Fatality Prevention Act, laws that goals to maintain employees secure as temperatures rise attributable to local weather change.
Warmth is the main reason behind weather-related deaths, but the USA presently has no nationwide warmth stress requirements in place to guard employees throughout extraordinarily scorching days. Likewise, solely three states—California, Minnesota and Washington—have issued some type of heat-related protections for employees. Though excessive warmth impacts a variety of occupations, building employees are thought of amongst these most in danger, as are farmworkers, who additionally face poisonous pesticide publicity on the job. Moreover, Black and Latinx employees are represented at higher charges in out of doors occupations, which locations them disproportionately in danger.
This laws would direct the Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) to create a typical geared toward lowering office accidents, diseases and fatalities attributable to extreme warmth. Security measures highlighted on this invoice embrace common paid breaks in cool or shaded environments, entry to water, emergency response protocols for workers affected by warmth sickness, correct coaching for employers and workers on warmth stress sickness and prevention, and entry to protecting clothes.
Dr. Kristina Dahl, senior local weather scientist at UCS:
“Excessive warmth has already confirmed lethal for employees in the USA, a toll that may solely develop as local weather change makes scorching days extra frequent and intense within the years forward. Our analysis reveals that by midcentury greater than 250 sizable U.S. cities may expertise the equal of a month or extra per 12 months on common when the ‘seems like’ temperature exceeds 100 levels Fahrenheit. We hope this laws, coupled with insurance policies to cut back heat-trapping emissions, will fill this large hole in office security that has existed for a lot too lengthy.”
Dr. Rafter Ferguson, scientist within the Meals and Setting Program at UCS:
“Farmworkers die of heat-related causes at roughly 20 instances the speed of employees in all different civilian occupations, and the hazard of maximum warmth is compounded by routine pesticide exposures. It’s a lethal cycle: warmth stress makes farmworkers extra inclined to harm from poisonous pesticides, whereas the protecting clothes they need to put on will increase the danger of warmth sickness. Furthermore, local weather change is amplifying the dangers by supercharging many insect pests and weeds, which is able to probably drive elevated pesticide use and additional endanger the individuals who put meals on our tables. Farmworkers deserve higher, and this laws is a crucial step towards defending them.”
For extra info on how world warming emissions will exacerbate excessive warmth in the USA and negatively influence farm employees, take a look at the UCS experiences “Killer Heat in the United States” and “Farmworkers at Risk: The Growing Dangers of Pesticides and Heat.”