Biden: Extreme Heat “The No. 1 Weather-Related Killer” in the US

And that’s why the Biden administration is proposing new heat safety rules to protect American workers 

Protect Your Workers

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On Tuesday, the Biden administration proposed a new regulation aimed at protecting outdoor workers and certain indoor employees from extreme heat in the US.  

The Rising Heat

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This proposal from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would require many US employers to take appropriate steps to protect their workforce, including providing workers with water and temperature-controlled break rooms once temperatures at work sites reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

More Dangerous Than You Thought

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Biden didn’t mince any words when speaking at the Washington DC Emergency Operations Center, saying: “Extreme heat is the No 1 weather-related killer in the United States”. He added: “More people die from extreme heat than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined”. 

Trying to Decrease the Damage

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In Biden’s speech, he also mentioned that, if finalized, the new rule “will substantially reduce heat injuries, illnesses and deaths for over 36m workers … construction workers, postal workers, manufacturing workers and so much more”. 

Work Shouldn’t Kill You

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OSHA head Douglas Parker released a statement, saying: “Workers all over the country are passing out, suffering heat stroke and dying from heat exposure from just doing their jobs, and something must be done to protect them”. 

Outside All Day

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This new regulation was released after farm worker groups had asked the administration to provide heat standards, since agricultural workers are often exposed to high temperatures and other extreme weather conditions, along with having inconsistent access to water, shade, and rest breaks. 

Not All Are Covered

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It should be noted that OSHA’s rule excludes government employers, “sedentary” or remote workers, emergency responders, or workers employed at indoor job sites where temperatures are controlled to stay below 80 degrees. 

Scary Statistics

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The Environmental Protection Agency also released a “Climate Indicators” report on Tuesday, which states that between 1992 and 2022, approximately 1,000 US workers died due to heat exposure. Of this number, about 34% are from the construction industry. 

Taking Heat Leave?

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In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that almost 34,000 cases occurred between 2011 and 2020 where employees missed work from heat-related injuries. 

Scared of Summer

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Right before the start of the US summer, on June 20th, close to 100 million Americans were under extreme heat advisories, watches, and warnings. In New York City, emergency cooling centers were opened, while deadly wildfires struck New Mexico. 

Death of a Hiker

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On Tuesday, Fox News reported that a Texas man died due to Arizona’s extreme heat while hiking on the River Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.  

A Tragedy

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As per the National Park Service (NPS), the victim was 69-year-old Scott Sims, who succumbed to the blistering temperatures while attempting to reach Phantom Ranch from the South Kaibab Trail.

No Time to Be Outside

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Park rangers have issued warnings to all hikers not to venture into the inner canyon between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when daylight heat is at its highest. 

During summer months, temperatures on exposed trails can exceed 120 degrees in the shade. Sweltering temperatures between 105 – 110 degrees below 4,000 feet have been forecast for this week. 

The Proposal Specifics 

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As per the OSHA proposal, once work temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, workers would be required to take paid 15-minute breaks every two hours. It would also be compulsory for employers to monitor their workforce for any heat-related illnesses. 

Bosses, Take Note

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The rules also state that employers would be required to undergo extreme heat safety training. And whenever businesses hire new employees, they should gradually increase their workload to give the new workers time to adjust to high temperatures. 

Sounds Good, But…

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Although labor- and climate activists have lauded the administration’s new heat stress rule proposal, they know that finalizing it will be difficult. This is because it could face potential legal challenges from trade groups.

What Would Trump Do?

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Furthermore, should Donald Trump win the November presidential election, it’s possible that his administration could refuse to give this proposal the go-ahead.

Nothing’s Free

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The White House also announced $1bn in grants for more than 650 climate resilience projects across the US. 

Muriel Bowser, the current mayor of Washington DC, said that the state is set to receive over $3.5bn for infrastructure upgrades.

Face the Music

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While in Washington, President Biden also criticized Republicans who “deny that climate change even exists”. He also noted that not one congressional Republican had voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, adding that many are now attempting to cancel its green provisions. 

We Should Stick Together

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Biden also stated that Donald Trump and “Maga Republicans in Congress” are trying to “undo” the climate progress achieved by the administration. “I, quite frankly, think it’s not only outrageous, it’s really stupid,” Biden said. “When disaster strikes, there are no red states or blue states.” 

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The post Biden: Extreme Heat “The No. 1 Weather-Related Killer” in the US first appeared on EcoHugo.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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