Florida legislature ignores heat illness prevention bill aimed at saving outdoor workers' lives
Farmworker advocates are calling on the state legislature to take up a bill that would protect outdoor workers in extreme heat.
The Heat Illness Prevention bill would require farmers, construction companies and landscapers who employ outdoor workers to educate them about heat illness.
Employers would also be asked to provide workers with adequate drinking water, access to shade and 10-minute recovery breaks in extreme heat.
Farmworker Association of Central Florida’s Jeannie Economos said there’s bipartisan support for the bill, but it still hasn’t been read by a committee in the Florida House or Senate.
“Well, we’re still hopeful. We’re still asking people to make calls to their representatives and senators, to ask them to make sure that it does get heard in committee," said Economos. "We're still hopeful. There's still some time, but the clock is ticking with every day.”
Economos said without these protections, workers are putting their lives at risk to do their jobs.
“It is horrible for one of the hottest states in the entire country to not have protections for workers, when we know just how devastating the heat can be," said Economos. "For all of us, much less people that are working on roofs or harvesting our food, and doing the work that so many of us depend on every day.”
Extreme heat not only kills workers, but causes chronic health conditions like kidney disease and kidney failure.
Take action to protect Florida farmworkers today!! pic.twitter.com/gfOLa5tsFC— Farmworker Assoc. FL (@FWAFL) March 28, 2023