Steve Sallman Discusses Urgent Need for Heat Protections on the Leslie Marshall Show

USW Director of Health, Safety and Environment Steve Sallman appeared on the Leslie Marshall show this week to discuss heat-related dangers in the workplace and the need for federal safety standards that will protect workers from heat-related illnesses and death.

Record-breaking heatwaves have become increasingly common, casting a spotlight on the critical need for comprehensive workplace protections. Unions, including the United Steelworkers (USW), are playing a pivotal role in negotiating and advocating for measures that safeguard workers from the hazardous impacts of extreme heat.

“We are proud to have USW locations where our members are deeply involved in a number of ways that help to prevent heat-related illnesses and exposures,” said Sallman.

Sallman said many USW local unions have negotiated into their contracts full-time health and safety representatives who are trained to work with management on ensuring workers have access to ample water supplies, rest breaks and proper ventilation.

While individual efforts are commendable, the scope of the heat-related hazard demands a unified national approach. The absence of a comprehensive heat exposure standard puts workers at risk of illness and even death.

The Biden administration has shown a commitment to addressing heat-related hazards in the workplace. President Biden's recent directive to the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue the first-ever hazard alert for heat signifies a substantial step towards raising awareness and intensifying enforcement of existing safety regulations.

But a more permanent solution from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – similar to the federal standards already in place for falls and asbestos exposure – would ensure no worker is left vulnerable to heat-related illness in the future.

“We're seeing more and more worker-friendly people in Congress who are actually standing up for workers and saying enough is enough,” said Sallman.

“Elections will have consequences, and we've got to get more people in office urging OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard.”

Listen to "Protecting Workers from Deadly Heat" on Spreaker.

To listen to the full interview with Steve Sallman, click here.

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