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Florida Legislature Bans Heat Protections

Last week, Republican majorities in the Florida legislature passed a bill that would ban local jurisdictions from requiring employers to provide water, rest, shade and other workplace protections from extreme heat. Due to ongoing climate change, rising temperatures create serious health risks in both indoor and outdoor work settings.

Members of We Count, a National COSH affiliate, are leading a dynamic campaign to win protections for agricultural and construction workers in Miami-Dade County.

Exposure to extreme heat accounts for as many 2,000 preventable worker deaths each year in the U.S., and as many as 170,000 workplace injuries and illnesses, according to a report from Public Citizen.

Practical, common-sense measures such as providing ready access to clean potable water, regular rest breaks and shade protection can save lives and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and related illnesses.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have a specific standard to protect workers from exposure to extreme heat. A regulatory process is underway and will take several years to complete.

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