Biden proposes new rules to protect workers from extreme heat

The new rules would affect around 36 million people.

President Joe Biden has proposed a new rule to address excessive heat in the workplace, aiming to protect approximately 36 million workers from injuries related to heat exposure.

The proposed rule would establish the first major federal safety standard of its kind and would cover workers in various industries such as farming, delivery, construction, landscaping, warehouses, factories, and kitchens.


The big picture: The Biden administration is prioritizing addressing extreme weather as hurricanes and high temperatures pose significant risks to the population.

  • The president criticized Republican lawmakers who deny the existence of climate change and highlighted the human and financial costs associated with extreme weather events.

Go deeper: In addition to the proposed rule, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is finalizing a rule to consider flooding risks in federal construction projects.

  • FEMA is also allocating $1 billion in grants to help communities deal with natural disasters. 
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing a new report on climate change impacts, and the administration plans to hold a White House Summit on Extreme Heat.
  • Under the proposed rule, employers would be required to identify heat hazards, establish emergency response plans, provide training on heat illness symptoms, and ensure rest breaks, shade, water, and heat acclimatization for workers.
  • Penalties for heat-related violations would increase, aligning with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules.
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