State regulators reject heat stress standard for Virginia workers
Advocates for protecting workers from heat stress were unsuccessful in persuading state officials to create a new standard.
Virginia's Safety and Health Codes Board is rejecting a standard for protecting workers against heat stress, a standard the business community rallied against. Stephen Haner at the Thomas Jefferson Institute says the proposal was unworkable.
"I'm not sure an 85 degree heat index is sweltering heat. I call that June in Virginia. So the standard was too strict," Haner explains. "The standard was basically one size fits all."
Advocates for farmworkers say they're disappointed in the decision of the health board last week. Kim Bobo at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy says Democratic Governor Ralph Northam could have done more to make it happen.
"The bottom line is we are not going to see this," Bobo says. "And it goes back to I think really the governor stacking the committee with industry people before the COVID standard vote this summer."
Advocates for the standard say this issue is not going anywhere, especially with climate change creating hotter summers and more dangerous conditions for workers.