In response to multiple U.S. cities facing extreme heat this summer, the White House requested the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue a hazard alert for heat. The DOL will also ramp up enforcement to protect workers from extreme heat. Workers, including farmworkers, farmers, firefighters and construction workers, are disproportionately impacted by extreme heat.
Since 2011, more than 400 workers have died due to environmental heat exposure, and thousands more are hospitalized every year. The DOL hazard alert will reaffirm that workers have heat-related protections under federal law. As part of the alert, the DOL will provide information on what employers can and should be doing now to protect their workers, help ensure employees are aware of their rights, including protections against retaliation and highlight the steps the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently taking to protect workers.
Additionally, the DOL will ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations, increasing inspections in high-risk industries like construction and agriculture, while OSHA continues to develop a national standard for workplace heat-safety rules.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is investing up to $7 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to improve our nation’s weather forecasts. In partnership with universities and other institutions, NOAA will establish a new Data Assimilation Consortium focused on developing better weather-prediction capabilities and maximizing the value provided by NOAA’s global observing system.
These improved forecasts will allow communities to better prepare for extreme weather events, including long periods of extreme heat. As the climate crisis contributes to worsening extreme weather events affecting Americans nationwide, this investment will give Americans the information and tools they need to stay safe.