RALEIGH, N.C. – New rules being considered by Congress could help protect workers from dangerous heat. 

Co-sponsored by North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams, D-Charlotte, the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to set standards for preventing excessive heat in the workplace for both outdoor and indoor workers.   

The legislation is named after a California farmworker who died of heat stroke in 2004 after picking grapes for 10 straight hours in heat up to 105 degrees. 

Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air manager with Clean Air Carolina, says with climate change setting record-breaking temperatures, workers need protections.

"We were very alarmed, especially because North Carolina actually happens to be one of the top states for heat-related deaths across the nation,” she states. “Many people have seen outdoor workers, whether that's military, painters, housework, construction workers, but it can also happen to indoor workers that don't have access to air conditioning."

Currently, there are no federal heat-stress safety standards for workers. 

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the American Public Health Association, Medical Advocates for Healthy Air and nearly 100 other organizations support the legislation.

Ben Skelton, owner of Skelton's Landscaping Service in Chapel Hill, says this summer he's had to get innovative to keep himself and his employees cool working all day in scorching temperatures.

"This year I have started using one of those pop-up tents that people use for tailgating or picnicking, and I can take it easily to job sites,” he relates. “And if we're doing work where we're sitting in one spot for a long time, those tents have saved us this summer. It just makes all the difference in the world to have shade."

Excessive heat can trigger heat stroke, which happens when a body no longer is able to control its own temperature. 

People with certain medical conditions especially are at risk, says respiratory therapist Candace Cahoon.

"When you're looking at individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, any respiratory illness, you're going to have a lot more issues breathing," she stresses.

Nearly 700 people die from extreme heat each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disclosure: Clean Air Carolina contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - NC
 

Public News Service Original Article


Comments (0)

Rated 0 out of 5 based on 0 voters
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Rate this post:
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Most Read

WNCTIMES ON TWITTER

John Dingell's final message for Americans - Trump attacks Dingell's Widow on Twitter https://t.co/bIMSSC9307… https://t.co/DJ4tmF8lmm
About 5 hours ago
About 10 hours ago
Democrsts, Devos clash in fiery hearing that turned personal https://t.co/nRkiVl9SvZ Devos studentloans… https://t.co/Q4SyJaYiW8
About 11 hours ago
First Lady appears to condone Trump's critism of Thornberg https://t.co/bId3pRew1e MelaniaTrump Trump… https://t.co/5DUI02KrIv
About 12 hours ago
North Korea: Another Test at Long Range Rocket Site https://t.co/5tfWb2TA2f NorthKorea news PressRelease https://t.co/Tdn5XEz2ir
About 12 hours ago