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Biden admin rolls out proposal to protect workers from excessive heat

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As tens of millions of people across the country are under heat advisories, the Biden administration proposed a new rule Tuesday, July 2, that would require workplaces to address excessive heat. If finalized, it would become the first major safety rule of its kind and protect more than 30 million Americans from injuries related to heat exposure while on the job. 

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Despite increased awareness of the health risks associated with heat, extreme heat protections are not in place for many workers. 

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Under the Biden administration’s new plan, employers would have to develop emergency response plans related to heat illness and provide training to employees and supervisors on the signs and symptoms. They would also have to establish rest breaks, provide shade and water to employees and develop a plan to help new workers build tolerance to higher temperatures.

Penalties for heat-related violations would also increase significantly to be in line with the penalties workplaces receive for OSHA violations.

Currently, only five states have workplace standards for heat exposure in place. Over the past year, both Florida and Texas passed legislation preventing local governments from requiring heat protections for outdoor workers.

An estimated 2,300 people died in the U.S. from heat-related illness just last year.

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AS TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE UNDER HEAT ADVISORIES – THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PROPOSED A NEW RULE TUESDAY THAT WOULD REQUIRE WORKPLACES TO ADDRESS EXCESSIVE HEAT. 

IF FINALIZED – IT WOULD BECOME THE FIRST MAJOR SAFETY RULE OF ITS KIND… AND WOULD PROTECT MORE THAN 30 MILLION AMERICANS FROM INJURIES RELATED TO HEAT EXPOSURE WHILE ON THE JOB. 

DESPITE INCREASED AWARENESS OF THE HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH HEAT – EXTREME HEAT PROTECTIONS ARE NOT IN PLACE FOR MANY WORKERS. 

UNDER THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S NEW PLAN…EMPLOYERS WOULD HAVE TO DEVELOP EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS RELATED TO HEAT ILLNESS – AND PROVIDE TRAINING TO EMPLOYEES AND SUPERVISORS ON THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS. 

THEY’D ALSO HAVE TO ESTABLISH REST BREAKS AND PROVIDE SHADE AND WATER TO EMPLOYEES…. 

AND DEVELOP A PLAN TO HELP NEW WORKERS BUILD TOLERANCE TO HIGHER TEMPERATURES. 

PENALTIES FOR HEAT-RELATED VIOLATIONS WOULD ALSO INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY – TO BE IN LINE WITH THE PENALTIES WORKPLACES GET SLAPPED WITH FOR OSHA VIOLATIONS. 

CURRENTLY, ONLY FIVE STATES HAVE WORKPLACE STANDARDS FOR HEAT EXPOSURE IN PLACE. 

OVER THE PAST YEAR, BOTH FLORIDA AND TEXAS PASSED LEGISLATION PREVENTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FROM REQUIRING HEAT PROTECTIONS FOR OUTDOOR WORKERS. 

AN ESTIMATED 23-HUNDRED PEOPLE DIED IN THE U-S FROM HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS JUST LAST YEAR.