"Workers Exposed to Extreme Heat Have Few Protections"

"Tens of millions of Americans are struggling to cope with soaring temperatures. OSHA is developing new workplace safety standards, but they are not yet complete."

"Anthony Soto, a 22-year-old baggage claim employee at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, crumpled to the floor near gate C15 after a seizure last October that he attributed to hot indoor conditions and strenuous lifting. In record-setting heat in Texas this past summer, Mr. Soto, who has epilepsy, had four more seizures that left him speechless, his body unresponsive, he said.

His blue button-down shirt was streaked with sweat on a recent sweltering day as the temperature again neared 105 degrees. Working in such heat “makes us feel unwanted, unhelpful and unworthy,” he said. “The only thing that matters is how long it takes to scan bags.”

Scientists say the record heat this summer was fueled by climate change and that heat waves are likely to grow more intense. But there are few safeguards for tens of millions of workers increasingly exposed to rising temperatures on the job.

The Biden administration is taking steps to create new rules for employers, with two key steps expected in the coming months. A handful of states have put in place standards for work in extreme heat, including California, which requires employers to allow outdoor workers to rest in the shade in temperatures above 80 degrees."

Noah Weiland reports for the New York Times October 5, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 10/06/2023