A recent investigation by NPR and Columbia Journalism Investigations found that climate change is contributing to a dramatic rise in preventable worker deaths from high temperatures, an issue that disproportionately affects workers of color. To address this, the current administration issued a joint statement with OSHA with a commitment to “protect workers, children, seniors, and at-risk communities from extreme heat.”
It is unusual for presidents to weigh in on OSHA standards, indicating a strong commitment to fast-tracking these worker protections. The move was met with approval from lawmakers who previously introduced legislation to create a heat standard for workers.
Improved heat protections will be lifesaving for workers in farming, construction, landscaping, trash collection, and more. The three-year average of worker heat deaths has doubled since the early 1990s with 384 workers dying from environmental heat exposure in the US over the last decade.