Assemblymember Richardson wins battle to protect overheated workers

Assemblymember Laura Richardson (55th District—Long Beach) won the first battle in a long fight to protect workers from excessive indoor heat with the passage by the State Assembly of Assembly Bill 1045.
AB 1045 requires the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to promulgate a standard for prevention of indoor heat illness by Tuesday, July 1, 2008. At a minimum the regulations would require employers to establish written procedures to recognize and prevent heat illness including hazard identification, prevention, access to water and emergency medical response.
The fight for outdoor/ indoor safety standards began in the early 1990s. Last year, the OSHA Standards Board finally adopted standards for outdoor heat after the death of several farm workers during last year’s summer heat wave.
Indoor heat conditions however, still remain unregulated despite the fact many indoor work sites can have significantly higher temperatures that working outdoors.
“How do we justify protecting workers outdoors but not those working indoors under similar or more dangerous heat conditions?” Richardson asked. “Exposing workers to excessive heat can only harm them and hurt the state economy. All workers need basic health and safety protection.”
AB 1045 passed on a 45-31 vote. It has the support of a broad coalition of union supporters including the California Labor Federation, the Teamsters, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the California Conference of Machinists to name a few.

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