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New Bill Seeks to Enact Heat Exposure Standards

Published July 21, 2019 by Matt Fendon Law Group | Workers' Compensation

People who live in Arizona know that they face some of the nation’s hottest temperatures during the summer months. With multiple days in a row commonly seeing temperatures above 100 degrees, anyone who works in a job that requires them to be outside can be at risk of developing a heat-related illness. Sadly, there are to date no federal guidelines pertaining to heat exposure in the workplace.

A U.S. Congressional Representative has introduced a new piece of legislation designed to tackle this issue. As reported by AZCentral, the bill is called the Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act. It is named after a man who died unnecessarily in New Mexico 15 years ago after suffering a stroke due to excessive heat exposure while at work.

The man worked on a farm picking grapes. When he collapsed, the employer did not even call for medical help but instead sent the man home in a vehicle driven by the man’s son. While en route to their home, the man died. In addition to losing his father, the son had to watch the death take place while following the instructions of an employer.

So far, three states have put laws in place regarding heat exposure at work. Neighboring California is one of them but Arizona has no such laws. A city in Texas has also created this type of regulation and has reportedly seen the costs related to workers’ compensation claim associated with heat exposure decline. It is not known what the specific terms of the bill are just yet.

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