Biden announces first-ever heat wave "hazard alert" for workers
Why it matters: Biden presented the new protection efforts as 180 million people — over half of the U.S. population — were under heat alerts.
Driving the news: The White House asked Labor to issue a formal "hazard alert" that will "reaffirm that workers have heat-related protections under federal law," officials said.
- It will provide employers information on protecting workers, and help ensure workers know their rights, a White House summary states.
- In addition, the department will "ramp up enforcement of heat-safety violations," expanding inspections of "high risk" sectors like construction and agriculture.
The intrigue: It's the first time the Labor Department has used the "hazard alert" tool to address extreme heat, a White House official tells Axios.
- Other efforts include NOAA investments to improve weather forecasts, and Interior Department steps to help ensure drinking water availability in drought-stricken western communities.
What he's saying: "We should be protecting workers from hazardous conditions … Construction workers who literally risk their lives working all day in blazing heat, and in some places don't even have the right to take a water break. That's outrageous," Biden said at a press conference on Thursday.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details from Biden's remarks.