Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Representatives Greg Casar (D-Texas-35), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-28), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas-29), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.-07), and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.-03), along with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), sent a letter calling on the Biden Administration to implement an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace heat standard as quickly as possible.
The members released a letter today urging the “fastest possible implementation… given the dire threat to the lives of workers exposed to extreme heat.”
“As Nevada continues to endure record high temperatures, I’m pushing the Biden Administration to establish federal workplace guidelines to protect Nevada workers from extreme heat and ensure they have adequate hydration, shade, and rest breaks,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “Nevada workers drive our economy, and I will always stand up for them.”
The letter urges Acting U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Julie Su and Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Douglas L. Parker to establish an enforceable federal standard to ensure workers and employers can recognize and respond to the signs of heat stress. The standard should require employers to provide the following:
- adequate hydration;
- rest breaks;
- areas for rest breaks that are shaded (in the case of outdoor work) or air-conditioned (in the case of indoor work);
- medical services and training to address signs and symptoms of heat-related illness; and
- a plan for acclimatization to high-heat work conditions.
“This year has already brought record high temperatures that have led to preventable deaths in the workplace,” the members wrote. “In Dallas, Texas, a USPS employee of over 40 years died while on his route in 115-degree heat. In Harrison County, Texas, a 35-year-old lineman working to restore power died, likely from heat exhaustion. We know extreme weather events such as heat waves will are becoming more frequent and more dangerous due to climate change. Urgent action is needed to prevent more deaths.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.
Senator Cortez Masto is a champion for workers’ rights. She pushed the Biden administration to launch a coordinated, interagency effort to respond to the health impacts of extreme heat on American workers and led legislation to direct the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a federal heat standard to help protect workers. She is an original cosponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to strengthen protections for workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions.