The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Patrick Davis,

President Biden Proposes Rule to Protect Workers from Extreme Heat

After over a decade of advocacy by Public Citizen, new OSHA proposed rule set to protect frontline workers from dangers of extreme heat

At an event at the DC Emergency Operations Center, President Biden today announced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has formally proposed the nation’s first-ever federal safety standard addressing excessive heat in the workplace. The proposed final rule will be published in the Federal Register for public comment and hearings, the final step before the rule is put into effect.

Public Citizen first petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a mandatory standard to protect workers from injury and death resulting from extreme heat exposure in September 2011.

In response, Juley Fulcher, worker health and safety advocate with Public Citizen, issued the following statement:

“President Biden’s decision to protect workers with a comprehensive federal workplace heat standard is a monumental victory for those who toil in the summer heat. If enacted, the simple measures to protect workers—water breaks, a cool spot to recover, and rest—will provide key protection from illness, injury and death.

“Several states have put workplace heat protections in place and elected officials in Florida and Texas have taken action to strip workers of heat-related protections. The punitive cruelty of denying workers access to water and protection from heat by elected officials has been monstrous. White House approval of the OSHA proposed rule demonstrates the commitment of President Biden and the Department of Labor to protecting workers from deadly heat hazards. A nationwide protection standard is essential to ensure workers are protected and provided with the necessary and humane protections to work safely in the summer heat.

“President Biden’s action is a crucial step – but it is only another step – in an outrageously lengthy process demanded by anti-regulatory laws forced through Congress by corporate interests. It comes more than a dozen years after Public Citizen first petitioned for a heat protection rule and more than half a century after the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health first flagged the issue.

“If all goes to plan, workers will finally have protective rules in two more years. That’s a national disgrace and a display of contempt for America’s workers and especially immigrant workers who bear a disproportionate burden of excessive heat.

“That said, this is a moment to celebrate and President Biden and his administration deserve huge credit for prioritizing this vital measure and pushing it forward toward completion.”

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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