Senator Leyva Unveils "Worker Heat Safety Act"

SB 1167 Protects Indoor Workers From Heat Illness, Hazards

Thursday, February 18, 2016

SACRAMENTO – In an effort to protect workers from dangerously high temperatures within warehouses and other work locations in California, Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) today introduced a bill to protect indoor workers in the same way as outdoor workers already covered by high heat standards, such as agricultural workers and landscaping workers.

Specifically, SB 1167 would require the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) to—by July 1, 2017—propose to the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Board for its adoption a heat illness and injury prevention standard for all indoor employees at risk of heat illness.  Currently, there are no indoor heat regulations in place for indoor workers, such as warehouse and factory workers, leaving many employees in California at risk for heat illness and other high temperature hazards.

The warehousing industry is a major employer in California, employing over 100,000 warehouse workers in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties alone.  Unfortunately, some employers in that industry oftentimes hire temporary workers who are paid low wages and must work in unsafe and unhealthy employment conditions.  With temperatures rising well above 100 degrees during summer months in counties throughout California—including in the 20th State Senate District—temperatures inside non climate-controlled warehouses and buildings can rise even higher.

“It is alarming to think that there are employees having to work in temperatures that are dangerous and potentially life threatening,” Senator Leyva said. “SB 1167 will move California in a direction where heat dangers are taken seriously for all employees, not just those that work outdoors.  The Inland Empire has many warehouses and other indoor work environments, so we must do our part to make sure that those employees have the same heat illness and injury prevention protections as those working outdoors.”

As sponsor of SB 1167, the California Labor Federation further cements its long established track record of fighting for working people and families in California.

"All workers deserve to go home safe at the end of the day. This bill gives workers in extremely hot indoor worksites the same protections from heat stress already provided to workers on outdoor worksites. Clear rules that prevent injuries are good for business and good for workers," said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski.

SB 1167 will be eligible to be considered in Senate policy committee(s) later this spring.