Heat can kill on the job, and these workers are dying


record heat wave stretching from California to Florida has caused dozens of deaths, filled some hospitals to pandemic levels and prompted government warnings about avoiding extended exposure to heat. But the federal agency charged with protecting you on the job can do little or nothing if your boss orders you to work outside in the searing summer sun.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is only now in the process of drafting a heat standard for work places, even as climate change means such extreme weather will likely grow more common. That effort, announced by the Biden administration nearly two years ago, is likely years from taking effect, if it does go into effect at all.

Business interests, including the US Chamber of Commerce, are objecting to the rule making proposal, saying the question of what heat conditions are safe for workers is a complex question not easily addressed by a set of standards and rules and that differences in exertion and physical condition of workers plays a role in the risk from heat.