April 21, 2024

Rhode Island Proposes Worker Climate Protection

Rhode Island Senate Bill 2900 was recently introduced, which would require employers to take certain actions to protect employees who are exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

According to the bill, employers would be required to create and implement plans to reduce exposure to hazardous temperatures through providing paid rest breaks, adequate shade or warmth, adequate drinking water, training for supervisors and staff, and other key elements to protect workers.

Settings the bill would apply to include but are not limited to agriculture, construction, landscaping, warehouse, manufacturing, mail and package delivery, utilities, oil and gas operations, airport service workers, and food service workers.

There has been discussion on the topic of climate change and its impact on working conditions for outdoor workers, and the introduction of this bill could foreshadow more to come, especially as the state of Texas made headlines last year by eliminating city and council ordinances that gave construction workers the right to water breaks during extreme heat. And just recently, Florida House Bill 433 was signed into law, which also prevents local municipalities from requiring employers to implement workplace heat measurements that are not required under state or federal law.

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