For National Farmworker Awareness Week we can honor and protect the workers who put food on our tables by taking measures to protect them from the growing impacts of climate warming. Eighteen of the 19 hottest years on record were since 2001. Heat exhaustion can be deadly, causing heat strokes and heart attacks, and can make asthma and diabetes worse. Farmworkers are disproportionately impacted with long hours spent outside with little shade.
American farm work a dangerous job, causing heat-related deaths.
Farmworkers have fewer legal rights than most of the labor force. They can lose jobs and some face threats of deportation if they call out unsafe working conditions. Despite common-sense prevention with hydration, shade, and rest breaks, no National protections exist to prevent occupational heat stress. OSHA must protect all workers from rising temperatures by issuing a regulatory heat stress standard.
Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.