Skip to Content

New bill would add protections for workers in ‘ultrahigh’ heat conditions, if passed

A new bill making its way through state legislature would add more protections for those working in high heat conditions outdoors.

Introduced by Representatives Eduardo Garcia and Luz Rivas, Assembly Bill 2243 is aimed to better protect anyone working in temperatures exceeding 105 degrees.

“We have to make sure that we're protecting workers that are outside, elderly, and of course, our children,” Rep. Garcia said.

If passed, CAL/OSHA would consider requiring employers to ensure workers get paid rest breaks every hour, more access to cold water and that employers pay closer attention to workers for symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

“We're really trying to protect people from not having to be impacted by these extreme heat circumstances and it causing some type of illness or in some cases, the death of these individuals who are working outdoors.”

The added protections would apply to anyone working outside. “Agriculture and the service industry, the hospitality industry," Garcia added, "We're talking about people who also work outdoors and our government agencies.”

It would especially impact those on our front lines. Derek Falk, who was a firefighter for 12 years, remembers what it was like battling flames in high temperatures.

“It can be brutal. you’re in exposure to the elements as far as sunlight but now you got the added additional exposure of heat from the flames and everything else," Falk said, "And it’s a pretty exhausting job, you’re in your full Nomax gear and your long sleeves, long pants and protective equipment. Yeah, it’s pretty brutal.”

Not to mention, the wildfire smoke they inhale so frequently. “You deal with it the best you can. In a wildland setting, a lot of times we’d just have our goggles on and our bandana protecting you. But really, you’re just out there in the elements.”

Garcia said this bill would also target those unhealthy conditions, by reducing the limit the quality of the air must exceed before protective equipment becomes mandatory.

“How do we protect them from, you know, the bad air and smog and smoke that, that they have to, you know, inhale, we want to just make sure that California standards are up to par with the realistic conditions of climate change and how hot it gets in our region,” Garcia added.

The bill passed the assembly 47 to 19, and his now headed to the Senate for further consideration.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content