The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) sought comment through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on heat injury and illness prevention in outdoor and indoor work settings. The agency explained it “is initiating rulemaking to protect indoor and outdoor workers from hazardous heat and is interested in obtaining additional information about the extent and nature of hazardous heat in the workplace and the nature and effectiveness of interventions and controls used to prevent heat-related injury and illness.”

The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ) is a member-based non-profit in Louisiana. Its worker members work in some of the most physically difficult & demanding jobs in Louisiana— construction, loading & unloading delivery trucks in warehouses, commercial laundry & dishwashing, facilities that service Bourbon Street hotels, landscaping, & crayfish processing.

With the assistance of Democracy Forward, NOWCRJ submitted a comment to the Department of Labor urging the Department to act quickly and boldly to protect workers from increasingly dangerous heat in their workplace. As NOWCRJ describes in its comment letter, its worker members are not adequately protected from intense heat.

Workers described working in unairconditioned warehouses and laundry facilities. Some are paid based on quotas, which forces them to keep a regular pace even on high heat days. Some described being discouraged from taking breaks. They are not provided equipment to protect them from heat.

NOWCRJ’s comment encourages the agency to move expeditiously to propose and finalize a rule with robust protections for all workers. Read NOWCRJ’s comment letter here.