Feb 13, 2024 - News

Lawmakers could block heat protections considered by Miami-Dade

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 2: Marta Gaspar, a farm worker, covers guava fruits from pests with plastic bags at a farm on November 2, 2023 in Homestead, Florida.

Farmworker Marta Gaspar covers guava fruits with plastic bags to keep away pests. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui for the Washington Post via Getty Images

Miami-Dade is set to vote next month on heat-safety protections for outdoor workers, but state lawmakers might stop the county in its tracks, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Catch up fast: The proposed protections, which commissioners considered last year before deferring their vote to March, would require employers to provide water, shade and rest, or face fines.

What's happening: A Senate bill would ban municipalities from establishing heat-exposure protections.

  • Workers' rights groups say the bill is likely in response to Miami-Dade's proposed legislation, according to the Times.
  • There are currently no statewide heat protections in Florida, but the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration recommends employers provide water, shade and rest to workers.

Advocates say workers are often discouraged from drinking water or using the restroom. Safeguards, they say, could prevent heat exhaustion deaths.

The other side: Opponents say many companies already offer water and shaded rest, and that the legislation would hurt the construction and agriculture industries.

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