Oregon Osha Aims To Prevent Heat Illness, Death With New Requirements For Employers (Latest News)

There are serious concerns for individuals working outdoors during the heat this week when temperatures are expected to reach the 100s. Workers will be protected by new regulations that take effect this summer.

Oregon underwent significant changes as a result of the heat wave last year, including new, long-term regulations requiring employers to safeguard workers from heat-related ailments including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Employers are required to give employees more time for breaks, shady places to rest, and access to lots of water when the heat index reaches or surpasses 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as per Oregon Occupational Safety and Health

"That might be a buddy system, where they only have maybe teams working together on a site where it's really remote. Or where the supervisors are going around checking in on the employees," said Paul Cirner

According to Ira Cuello Martinez, policy and advocacy director for Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon's agricultural worker union, dangerous heat exposure poses a particular risk for farm workers.

A migrant agricultural laborer who was supporting his family back in Guatemala, Sebastian Francisco Perez, passed away just a year ago while putting irrigation pipes in during the heat wave.

OSHA inspectors will be checking on employers all summer to see their plans for protecting workers. Employees who feel rules aren't being followed can also submit complaints directly to the state without fear of retaliation.