Lack of federal standard for heat stress puts outdoor workers at risk in New York.

 Jim and Kathy Barber shared the story of their son Tim, a construction worker who died of hyperthermia while working in sweltering summer heat without food or water. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration report found that the company had no temperature safety program or proof of safety training for Barber. Tragedies like this have led to nationwide efforts to establish temperature protection laws, but a bill in New York that could have helped save Barber will die in committee. The proposed Temperature Extreme Mitigation Program would have required businesses to establish plans for extreme temperatures, provide air conditioning in indoor workspaces, and offer personal protective equipment. It would have been the first state labor protection to address both heat and cold stress. Currently, there is no federal standard for heat stress. Opponents argue that such plans will lead to major cost burdens for corporations and small-business owners.

Deicy Curillo, a Safeway construction flagger, monitors traffic on Nassau and Fulton streets in New York City. (Tamia Fowlkes/The Washington Post)
The parents of Tim Barber, a construction worker who died of hyperthermia while working in the summer of 2020, shared their son's story on the floor of the New York State Assembly. Barber worked an eight-hour shift without food or water in 96-degree heat, spending most of his day sitting on a bucket sorting through bolts and screws. The company had no temperature safety program or proof that he had undergone safety training. Nationwide efforts to establish more substantial temperature protection laws have been fueled by such tragedies. However, a bill that might have helped save Barber will die in committee as the New York assembly session is scheduled to end on Thursday. It is crucial to cite the source and avoid plagiarism while paraphrasing an article.
Kathy Barber, left, and Jim Barber, right, with their son Tim at his college graduation. (Jim Barber)


The tragic death of Tim Barber, a construction worker who suffered from hyperthermia while working in the summer of 2020, has been a driving force behind efforts to establish more substantial temperature protection laws nationwide. Barber worked for eight hours in 96-degree heat without food or water, spending most of his time sorting through bolts and screws while sitting on a bucket. The company he worked for had no temperature safety program in place, nor did they provide evidence that Barber had undergone safety training. Unfortunately, a bill that could have prevented such tragedies from occurring will not pass in the New York assembly session, which is set to end on Thursday. It is essential to give credit to the original source and avoid plagiarism when paraphrasing an article.

New York state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D) and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D) announced their Temperature Extreme Mitigation Program earlier this year outside the Teamsters Local 237 office. At the rally, they chanted “We’re hot, we’re cold, exploitation is getting old” with attendees and held up signs with images of delivery trucks adorned with marker-drawn flames. Ramos and Joyner agreed that New York workers needed more protection from the effects of climate change.

The Temp Act proposal aimed to amend New York labor law to provide broader protections against the dangers of heat and cold stress. Heat stress occurs when the body cannot regulate its temperature, leading to confusion, loss of consciousness, excessive sweating, seizures, and even death. Cold stress happens when the skin and internal body temperature drop, making it impossible for the body to warm itself. Some common symptoms of cold stress include frostbite, hypothermia, trench foot, and chilblains.
Construction workers brush away debris at a New York City construction site. (Tamia Fowlkes/The Washington Post)

.The lack of temperature protection laws has led to tragic consequences, such as the death of Tim Barber, a construction worker who suffered from hyperthermia while working in 96-degree heat without food or water. Despite efforts to establish more substantial temperature protection laws nationwide, a bill that could have prevented such tragedies from occurring will not pass in the New York assembly session. The proposed Temp Act aimed to provide broader protections against the dangers of heat and cold stress, requiring businesses to establish plans for extreme temperatures and provide personal protective equipment. Currently, there is no federal standard for heat stress, and California, Oregon, and Minnesota have enacted regulations for working in heat. The New York mayor’s office submitted a report highlighting the need for heat-related protections, estimating that there are hundreds of heat-related emergency department visits, hospital admissions, and deaths each summer in New York City. However, heat-protection legislation faces opposition from corporations and small-business owners who argue that plans will lead to major cost burdens.

Employers are failing to address the dangerous impact of extreme temperatures on workers, despite efforts to establish temperature protection laws. The failure of the proposed Temp Act in the New York assembly session means that there is still no federal standard for heat stress, and businesses are not required to establish plans for extreme temperatures or provide personal protective equipment. While California, Oregon, and Minnesota have enacted regulations for working in heat, opposition from corporations and small-business owners has prevented similar legislation from passing in New York. This lack of protection has led to tragic consequences, such as the death of construction worker Tim Barber from hyperthermia. Labor rights advocates are concerned about how workers will be protected in the face of unexpected climate events, such as the hazardous smoke that covered the Northeast region this week.
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Mateen Faris
By : Mateen Faris
Mateen Faris is a professional journalist since 2011, a media graduate from Iraq University, a technology expert, a media consultant and a member of the International Organization of Journalists - a member of the fact-checking team at Meta Company. He writes in the fields of entertainment, art, science and technology, and believes that the pen can change everything.
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