By Equal Voice Action | December 10, 2019
Equal Voice ally Farmworker Association of Florida and partners are leading a heat stress protections campaign for Florida’s outdoor workers. Florida-based individuals and organizations can sign on to the letter here calling for common-sense heat exposure protections for outdoor workers in one of the country’s most impacted states. For more information about this issue at the national level, see the additional resources below.
Much of America’s most physically demanding and dangerous work is done outdoors. And with a changing climate making our hottest regions even hotter, more of America’s workers are laboring in increasingly high temperatures that present serious and even fatal health risks.
Protecting outdoor workers from excessive heat exposure is a humane, ethical, and common-sense practice that is good for workers and their families. No worker should be exposed to unnecessary health risks, and the many lower-income workers who work outside simply cannot afford extra medical bills or the lost or delayed wages that come with missed work and workers’ compensation claims.
Protecting workers also makes economic sense in supporting worker productivity and reducing workers’ compensation and medical costs from heat-related injuries and illnesses.
Heat stress protections are fairly simple and cost effective, focusing primarily on requiring employers to provide outdoor workers with access to water, rest, and shade. Yet workers in most states remain unprotected by common-sense heat standards that would prevent unnecessary illnesses and tragic outcomes from excessive heat exposure.
Among the most impacted states is Florida, which faces major challenges from climate change and already has one of the highest rates of heat-related hospitalizations in the country (even when the data are adjusted for age).
To push for much-needed protections in the Sunshine State, Equal Voice ally Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) is running a heat stress protections campaign with allies Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, and WeCount!
Together, this coalition has held statewide meetings educating and organizing around this issue, and has submitted organizational sign-on letters with the support of numerous Equal Voice allies from the Equal Voice for Rural Florida and Equal Voice for Urban Florida networks, among many other Florida-based organizations.
Looking ahead to Florida’s next legislative session in 2020, FWAF and allies are asking Florida-based individuals and organizations to sign their letter calling on Florida policymakers to pass common-sense heat protections for Florida’s outdoor workers.
For more information, see these additional resources from the Farmworker Association of Florida and allied organizations in the push for heat stress protections in Florida and nationwide:
Unworkable: Dangerous Heat Puts Florida Workers at Risk (FWAF and Public Citizen)
Farmworkers at Risk: The Growing Danger of Pesticides and Heat (Union of Concerned Scientists)
National heat exposure campaign led by Public Citizen, the United Farm Workers Foundation, and Farmworker Justice
The long-standing mission of the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) is to build power among farmworker and rural low-income communities to respond to and gain control over the social, political, workplace, economic, health, and environmental justice issues that impact their lives. As a grassroots, farmworker-membership, community-based organization, FWAF is led and governed by the farmworker communities in which they work. FWAF is a member of the Equal Voice for Rural Florida network.