Biden proposal could protect Arizona workers from extreme heat threats

Heat waves in Arizona have become increasingly frequent, extreme and lethal in recent years due to the warming influences of human-caused climate change and the urban heat island effect of development.

Yet even as regional research, awareness and mitigation initiatives ramp up, efforts to enact statewide heat protections for workers have repeatedly failed.

This week, there’s new hope those safety measures could come from the federal government.

The Biden administration advanced a proposed rule Tuesday to mandate worker heat protections during extreme weather events, including heat waves. The standards outlined by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, have been in the works since 2021, but it was unclear until this week when they might move forward to address what many in Arizona view as an urgent and under-acknowledged extreme heat crisis.

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