Even though heat is the leading weather-related killer in the U.S., there are no federal heat protections for workers. When farm workers work all day under the sun without taking adequate water or shade breaks, they face heat-related illnesses such as nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, dehydration, and even death.
Among farm workers, heatstroke is the leading cause of work-related death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, farm workers die from heat-related illness at a rate 20 times greater than the rest of the U.S. civilian workers. Heat deaths and injuries have been historically hard to track, and governmental institutions no longer record the number of deaths from year to year. But with temperatures on the rise, researchers believe heat-related illnesses will only increase.
We need federal heat stress regulations that protect the health of farm workers as well as workers in other industries. Recently, The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. As an interested stakeholder, National Farm Worker Ministry submitted comments to OSHA on proposed heat stress regulations. The comments addressed breaks for water and shade, access to sanitary bathrooms, educational training, cooling systems in labor housing, and more. Click below to read the full comments that NFWM, under consultation with multiple farm worker partners, submitted to OSHA.
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