© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions
A regional collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Federal government proposes the first national heat protection standards for workers

A man wearing a hat pours the last drops of water out of a water bottle and into his mouth. It is a bright, hot, sunny day. In the background are stacks of boxes as high as the eye can see.
Jeff Roberson
/
Associated Press
Wyatt Seymore pours the last drops of water from a water bottle into his mouth as he takes a break unloading fireworks in in Weldon Spring, Mo. In the midst of extreme heat this summer, only a few states have protections for workers working in stifling heat. A new federal proposal suggests national standards for worker protections in the heat, including access to water and shade.

Extreme heat temperatures are affecting much of our region. Southern Nevada temperatures has been holding steady at over 110 degrees. Even Boise, Idaho has had triple-digit heat recently. On July 2, the federal government proposed the first national heat protection standards for workers.

The new federal guidelines call for minimum standards like access to water and shade, as well as an acclimation period for new workers.

Some states in our region are developing federally approved plans to protect workers, said Victoria Carreon, with the Division of Industrial Relations in Nevada.

“Every employer should be already taking responsibility and looking at their workplace and determining how to keep their workplace and determining how to keep their workers safe from possible heat exposure,” said Carreon.

More than half of states have federally approved worker protection plans, but the new heat standards would need to be added.

Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming’s plans would cover most private sector workers as well as state and local government workers. Idaho and Colorado operate under federal guidelines that cover most private sector workers but exempt state and local government workers.

Interestingly, Carreon says the majority of complaints come from indoor workers.

“And I don't think we have a full understanding of why the complaints come more from indoor workers than from outdoor workers but we certainly know that the heat hazards are present in both cases,” said Carreon.

Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming are establishing heat plans that cover private sector workers as well as state and local government workers. Idaho and Colorado operate under federal guidelines that cover private sector workers but exempt state and local government workers.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio (KNPR) in Las Vegas, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.

Enjoying stories like this?

Donate to help keep public radio strong across Wyoming.

Related Content