Biden administration wants rules for workers in extreme heat

Biden administration wants rules for workers in extreme heat

President Joe Biden's administration announced Tuesday that it is proposing new regulations aimed at protecting some workers exposed to extreme temperatures, as heat waves increase due to climate change.

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This list, which could include about 35 million workers according to the Democratic president's government, would be the first on this subject in the country at the federal level.

“The goal of this rule is simple, to dramatically reduce the number of deaths and illnesses suffered by workers exposed to excessive heat,” a senior government official told reporters, simply “because they are doing their job.”

The rule, if adopted as is after a period of public debate, would apply to delivery workers, construction or food picking employees, or even restaurant workers, especially in the kitchen.

More specifically, all employers whose workforce engages in physical activity and is exposed to a perceived temperature above 26°C will be affected by this regulation.

They will need training and development of action plans, including a person responsible for coordinating thermal safety measures.

When the temperature actually reaches 26°C, workers should have access to water and cool areas (shaded, air-conditioned, etc.).

Measures will also have to be taken to “acclimatize” new employees, for example through more breaks or reduced workload. “Three out of four workers who die on the job from heat die within the first week of work,” the senior official noted.

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If the perceived temperature reaches more than 32°C, 15-minute breaks every two hours will be mandatory and employees' symptoms will need to be monitored.

Some workers, such as emergency responders, will not be subject to these rules.

The announcement, made in early summer, is part of a series of measures announced by Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday to address the heat problem.

But the new regulations could be threatened by a new administration if Joe Biden does not win the presidential election in November.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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