Scientific Forum Enumerates Heat Effects On Health, Safety, Infrastructure

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 4:19pm
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 8:51am
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The Union of Concerned Scientists on Tuesday held a forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the effects of rising temperatures on health, safety and infrastructure. The forum was based on its July report, “Killer Heat in the United States.”

One item under discussion was an U.S. House bill that would help improve the safety of workers exposed to high temperatures.

H.R. 3668 would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers from heat-related injuries and illnesses.

Shanna Devine, worker health and safety advocate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, spoke at the forum.

She said heat is already the leading weather-related killer in the U.S., with July of this year being the hottest month in recorded history. “This is a 100% preventable threat if workers had access to such basic things such as water, rest, shade or a cool environment," Devine said. 

Arizona Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva also attended the briefing and is a co-sponsor of the bill. He enumerated specific vocations that would be affected by the legislation.

“Farm workers, people who work in the jobs that require the physical labor of working in warehouses, unloading trains, loading trucks — their incident rates have gone up and up," he said. 

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, extreme heat killed 815 workers and seriously injured more than 70,000 workers from 1992-2017.  

The report breaks out data and provides fact sheets, subdivided into geographical regions.

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