Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

From today’s Oregon Public Radio:

Skyler Fischer is forklift driver at a Fred Meyer distribution center in the town of Clackamas. He’s been working there for 12 years and works at least four days a week, 10 to 12 hours each day. Fischer said he gets two 15-minute breaks each shift.

On Tuesday, when temperatures soared to 102 degrees Fahrenheit in the Portland metro area, Fischer said he was drained. He said the warehouse has no air conditioning, no ceiling fans or any type of air circulation in the building. He said the only time he can cool down is during his lunch break when he gets to eat inside an air-conditioned office.

“Usually, I get home and I do stuff, but I just collapsed on the couch pretty much because I’m so exhausted,” he said.

In May, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division adopted permanent rules to protect workers laboring in excessive heat or wildfire smoke. They are some of the nation’s strongest protections for employees working outdoors or in workplaces without air conditioning.

But this week, with daily highs consistently hitting triple-digits, is putting Oregon OSHA’s recently implemented heat rules to the test. Some Oregonians have said they’re still laboring in unsafe conditions despite the new heat rules.

The rules went into effect last month and apply when temperatures in a work environment reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They require employers to provide access to shaded areas, cool drinking water, and additional rest breaks to cool down and acclimate to the heat. The rule also requires employers to provide heat illness prevention training.

Read the complete story here.

By Editor