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Controversy Over Heat Stress Rule Flares Up Again

Austin Jenkins
05/29/2007

Just in time for summer. Washington State is set to impose emergency regulations to protect workers from heat stress. The state says the new rules are needed to protect farmworkers and others who labor outdoors. Critics say it's just more government red tape. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

TRANSCRIPT

LAST SUMMER, A 27–YEAR OLD CONSTRUCTION WORKER DIED FROM COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO HEAT STROKE. IT WAS THE SECOND HEAT–RELATED DEATH IN WASHINGTON IN AS MANY YEARS. THE PREVIOUS SUMMER A FARMWORKER DIED. NOW THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES SAYS IT WILL IMPOSE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS. HOMEBUILDERS AND TWO REPUBLICAN STATE SENATORS – WHO ARE ALSO FARMERS – SAY THE ONSET OF SUMMER DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY. BUT ELAINE FISCHER WITH L AND I DISAGREES.

FISCHER: "Heat–related illness is a serious issue, it's a serious matter than needs awareness by everybody – by workers and employers – and specific procedures in place to address it, to train the employees."

THE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS REQUIRE EMPLOYERS TO HAVE A WRITTEN HEAT STRESS PLAN AND KEEP PLENTY OF DRINKING WATER ON THE JOBSITE. I'M AUSTIN JENKINS IN OLYMPIA.

© Copyright 2007, KPLU

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