Biden Administration tackling workplace safety issues as the climate crisis escalates

Most now recognizes that the climate has changed significantly in recent years, with virtually every successive year being warmer than the previous one. Although the politicization of this issue has created unnecessary confusion about the primary cause of the climate crisis and the best way forward, it remains clear that the increasingly frequent temperature extremes pose greater risks for all life on the planet. Those risks do not stop at the workplace entrance; indeed, certain work environments currently exacerbate the harmful impact of climate change.

Fortunately, the Biden Administration is developing workplace safety rules through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) to address dangerous working conditions created or intensified by temperature extremes. To that end, OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Work Group will promulgate employee protection requirements for companies who operate in the agricultural, construction, manufacturing, food service, or similar industries. To emphasize the importance of this effort, President Joe Biden recently stated as follows: “Rising temperatures pose an imminent threat to millions of American workers exposed to the elements, to kids in schools without air-conditioning, to seniors in nursing homes without cooling resources, and particularly to disadvantaged communities. My administration will not leave Americans to face this threat alone.”