Under a new proposed bill, Florida’s construction and agriculture employers could be required to train outdoor employees on how to avoid heat-related illnesses. This heat-illness prevention bill would set a standard for outdoor workers to be given plenty of drinking water and access to shade with 10-minute rest breaks after 2 hours of outside work.
It accompanies another bill in the Florida Senate that would also require annual training to identify signs of heat exhaustion and a period to allow workers to gradually adopt to a hot environment.
OSHA does not currently have a standard for indoor or outdoor heat exposure safety practices, except within the scopes of their general hazards section. They do recommend employers provide water, rest, and shade for workers in hot environments.
Proponents have been pushing for tougher standards, arguing Florida is one of the hottest states in the country, and when paired with the humidity it makes work unsustainable.
According to Business Insurance, “The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission sent clear signals that OSHA should adopt a standard to address heat stress risks rather than relying on the general duty clause after vacating a citation issued after the death of a 61-year-old temporary employee from complications of heat stroke.”