"Protecting Workers Exposed To Oregon’s Heat Waves And Wildfire Smoke"

"Oregon is considering ways to protect workers required to labor in extreme weather conditions, which are becoming more common in this age of climate change.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or Oregon OSHA, has started the rulemaking process to protect workers whose jobs keep them outside of climate-controlled settings during conditions of wildfire smoke or excessive heat. That includes farmworkers, public transit drivers, delivery drivers and warehouse employees. The rulemaking is part of Gov. Kate Brown’s proposal directing agencies like Oregon OSHA and the Oregon Health Authority to develop policies to protect workers from exposures like these.

The rule proposal serves as an acknowledgment that summer heatwaves and smoke incursions from wildfires are here to stay, thanks to the way burning fossil fuels is contributing to global warming.

This year, the state is already experiencing warmer temperatures and minimal rain. Some fear it could potentially cause the worst drought in decades and could lead to higher risks of wildfires."

Monica Samayoa reports for Oregon Public Broadcasting May 17, 2021.

Source: OPB, 05/18/2021