Washington, D.C. — Today, Representatives Raúl M.Grijalva (AZ-03), Judy Chu (CA-27), Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), and Alma Adams (NC-12) celebrated the House Education and Labor Committee’s markup of H.R. 2193, the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act, which would establish a federal standard for heat stress protections against occupational exposure to excessive heat. With climate change impacting already rising temperatures, and a greater increase of risk for workers in non-climate-controlled conditions — such as delivery trucks and warehouses — this critical legislation will ensure workers not only have safe and comfortable working conditions but will come home safely to their families each night. The bill was named for farmworker AsunciónValdivia, who died of heat stroke at the age of 53 after picking grapes for ten hours straight in 105-degree temperatures.
“Passage of the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act through the Education and Labor Committee is a vital step forward for labor protections to safeguard indoor and outdoor workers from heat stress and extreme temperatures,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva. “This summer, we’ve witnessed workers collapsing and fatalities associated with extreme heat in Arizona and across the country amidst record breaking temperatures. Climate change is going to make scorching temperatures more frequent and work conditions more strenuous. It’s critical that we establish a federal OSHA standard for heat stress to protect our workers. We need to put this legislation on the House floor for a vote without delay.”
“Recently, a young delivery man in my district, Esteban Chavez, Jr., passed away from a heat stroke while finishing his deliveries for the day in an un-air-conditioned truck. Tragedies like his and Asunción Valdivia’s are becoming all too common, especially as we see an uptick in extreme temperatures due to climate change,” said Rep. Judy Chu. “As a California State Legislator, I fought to adopt a state-wide heat standard and since its adoption in 2005, we have seen a 30-percent reduction in preventable heat-related illnesses and injuries. I know we can accomplish this on a federal level to protect all our workers and I look forward to supporting this crucial bill on the House floor.”
“Workers in this country still have no legal protection against one of the oldest, most serious, and most common workplace hazards: excessive heat. Heat illness affects workers in our nation’s fields, warehouses, and factories, and climate change is making the problem more severe every year,” said Rep. Scott, Chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. “This legislation will require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a heat standard on a much faster track than the normal OSHA regulatory process. Workers deserve no less, particularly as heat-related illnesses and deaths rise.”
“The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends a workplace safety standard ‘to protect the health of workers exposed to heat and hot environments.’ However, most states have not taken action,” said Rep. Adams, Chairwoman of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee “This is why ensuring the safety and health of workers who are exposed to dangerous heat conditions in the workplace is so important, and why we must create a federal standard to protect workers from extreme heat. I was proud to introduce the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act to address this issue and am proud to see the legislation pass out of committee.”
In addition to Reps. Chu, Scott, Grijavla and Adams, the Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act is co-sponsored by Reps. Aguilar, Barragán, Bera, Bishop, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Bowman, Brown (OH), Brown (MD), Brownley, Bush, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Carson, Casten, Castor, Castro, Chuy García, Cicilline, Cohen, Connolly, Courtney, Crist, D. Davis, Dean, DeFazio, Demings, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Espaillat, Evans, Fernández, Gallego, Garamendi, Garcia, Gomez, Gonzalez, Hayes, Higgins, Holmes Norton, Huffman, Jayapal, Johnson, Jones, Kaptur, Khanna, Kildee, Kim, Kirkpatrick, Larsen, Lee, Leger Fernandez, Levin, Lieu, Lofgren, Lowenthal, Lynch, Maloney, Matsui, McBath, McEachin, McGovern, McNerney, Meng, Morelle, Moulton, Mrvan, Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Neguse, Newman, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Panetta, Pingree, Pocan, Pressley, Raskin, Rochester, Ross, Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Rush, Sablan, Sanchez, San Nicolas, Schakowsky, Sires, Smith, Soto, Stansbury, Stevens, Suozzi, Takano, Thompson, Titus, Tlaib, Tonko, Torres (CA), Torres (NY), Vargas, Veasey, Velazquez, Wasserman Schulz, Watson Coleman.
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) are the original sponsors of S.1068, the Senate companion bill by the same name.
This bill has been endorsed by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC), Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), United Farm Workers of America, United Farm Worker Foundation, Public Citizen, Farmworker Justice, United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union, Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, Earthjustice, Farmworker Association of Florida, Collaborative Center for Justice, Friends of the Earth, Worksafe, Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project Illinois, Migrant Clinicians Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility Arizona Chapter, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, International Safety Equipment Association, Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and the National Employment Law Project, The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Natural Resources Defense Council and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.