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Bill seeks federal heat laws for workers

Many people who live and work in California find their job requires them to be outside for extended periods of time. Especially during the summer months, this can exposure them to high temperatures and harsh ultraviolet rays for extended periods of time. While the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has multiple laws in place that provide guidance to and requirements for employers to keep workers safe, none exist related to heat or sun exposure.

As explained by USA Today, California developed its own law addressing this issue 14 years ago yet it took some time before that law was properly adhered to or monitored. Now, two Congressional Representatives have introduced a bill at the federal level to require OSHA to develop nationwide standards and rules on the matter. One of the representatives is from California. The other is from neighboring Arizona.

Records from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the country has experienced the death of 350 people due to heat-related issues while at work in the last 10 years. Tens of thousands of people are said to have missed one or more days at work due to heat-related illnesses in that timeframe. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have their own set of recommendations on how to protect employees exposed to sun and heat but they are unable to enforce them or ensure other agencies enforce them. Workers in many industries such as agriculture, construction and airlines will no doubt be watching this bill to see how it progresses.