Florida Senate passes bill blocking rules protecting workers from heat

Florida’s Senate passed a bill on Tuesday prohibiting cities and counties from implementing mandatory water breaks and other workplace protections against extreme heat.

The Senate, controlled by Republicans, voted 28-11 along party lines to approve Senate Bill 1492. The bill would prevent local governments from setting workplace heat standards higher than federal requirements. The bill aims to remove the authority of cities and counties to mandate breaks for workers and time to rest in the shade during the day.

The state legislation follows the planet achieving its warmest year on record in 2023. Last summer, the southern part of the U.S. experienced prolonged heat waves with high humidity and temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, which were worsened by global warming according to climate scientists.

Advocates for Senate Bill 1492 believe that the legislation will create consistent regulations statewide, avoiding discrepancies in rule application. Labor organizations argue that workplace heat standards are crucial for ensuring the safety of workers, especially those in outdoor industries like construction and agriculture.

Also Read: Approx 12,000 People From Michigan Just Moved to Texas Very Fast

Last year, Texas passed a law that restricted local governments from creating rules for mandatory water breaks and shade time for outdoor workers. Heat is responsible for more fatalities in the U.S. annually than any other weather phenomenon, as stated by the National Weather Service. Outdoor workers are particularly at risk of heat-related illnesses and fatalities during temperature surges.

Aside from providing water and shade breaks, the local heat protections prohibited by Senate Bill 1492 would involve heat-exposure training programs, safeguards for employees who raise concerns about excessive heat exposure, and record-keeping obligations concerning heat exposure.

Businesses are required to adhere to the general rules established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration under state legislation. Although the agency acknowledges extreme heat as a workplace hazard, OSHA has not yet established specific federal regulations to safeguard workers from dangerously high temperatures. The bill is currently awaiting final approval in the House before being sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis. If the bill is approved, it will become effective on July 1.

Information Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.