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tell Congress: protect workers from extreme heat
America’s workers need relief from extreme heat.
Our world is getting hotter — almost literally by the day:
- According to NASA — not exactly known as a bunch of tree huggers — July was the hottest month ever recorded. And the past five Julys — that’s July 2023, July 2022, July 2021, July 2020, and July 2019 — are the five hottest Julys since at least 1880.
- Also in July, waters off the coast of Florida were measured at over 100 degrees. That’s typical of hot tubs — which come with warnings not to stay in them too long. At the risk of stating the obvious, the ocean is not supposed to feel like a hot tub.
- This summer, the high in Phoenix, Arizona, reached 110 degrees or more for 31 days in a row.
- Hospital burn units filled up with people who sustained third-degree burns — where, as one doctor put it, “the skin is completely destroyed” — from falling down outside and being in contact with super-heated concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets for just a matter of minutes.
- The head of the United Nations recently said the Earth is entering “an era of global boiling.”
And yet millions of Americans work jobs where severe heat can cause illness, injury, and even death.
In fact, heat is estimated to cause some 170,000 injuries and 2,000 fatalities in American workplaces every year.
Black and Brown workers suffer disproportionately — especially in agriculture, where a majority of workers are immigrants.
Extreme heat is also a year-round danger for many people who work indoors, at places like bakeries, commercial laundries, factories, restaurants, and warehouses.
People who work in extreme heat deserve water and breaks and a place to cool off. Ludicrously, there is currently no federal law requiring these seemingly basic safeguards. Congress must pass a law requiring employers to provide them.
The heat crisis is only getting worse. Pass legislation without delay that protects America’s workers from heat-related illness, injury, and death by requiring employers to provide water, breaks, and a place to cool off.
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Thanks for taking action.
- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
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