BAC Urges Congress to Pass the Reintroduced Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act
[Washington, D.C.] – The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) heartily supports the reintroduction in Congress Wednesday of the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act. We applaud Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) in the Senate and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Bobby Scott (VA-03), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), and Alma Adams (NC-12) in the House of Representatives for again taking the lead to bring the legislation to the floor.
The legislation requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a standard for employers to implement that protects workers from heat stress and related illnesses or injuries. Measures can include paid breaks in a cool space, access to water, limitations on time exposed to heat, and emergency response for workers with heat-related illnesses. It also directs employers to provide training on the risk factors that can lead to heat illness and guidance on the proper procedures for responding to its symptoms.
Importantly, this law also grants OSHA enforcement the ability to make sure that unscrupulous contractors are penalized for putting profits over workers’ health.
“Rising temperatures year after year present the intensifying danger of heat stress on the jobsite for millions of workers. It is imperative that the federal government acts to establish a standard that protects all affected workers from heat stress,” said BAC International President Timothy J. Driscoll.” Forcing people to work in deadly heat is unacceptable.”
“BAC members regularly work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot, enclosed spaces that are not climate controlled, leading to an increased risk for heat-related illnesses. Our responsible contractor partners work with us to make sure that our members are provided necessary relief – such as modified work schedules, increased rest periods, and frequent cold water breaks as needed,” Driscoll continued. “It is long past time that all employers be required to do the right thing so that every construction worker, and all other workers exposed to the potential of heat stress and exhaustion, are afforded adequate protections while on the job.”