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Getting heated about workers’ protections

July 18, 2023

2023 is on track to become the hottest year ever recorded. For people who work outdoors in industries like agriculture and construction, warmer temperatures can be dangerous. Heat-related illnesses like heat cramps and heat exhaustion increase the likelihood of workplace injury and, if left untreated, can lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly.

Activists worldwide have been organizing for better labor protections against rising temperatures. In Hong Kong, the government recently implemented a warning system to protect workers from overheating. And in the US, UPS drivers have finally won the right to get air conditioning in their trucks. But especially in the US, there is still much more that needs to be done to ensure safeguards against heat-related illnesses while on the clock.

Hesperian’s books can help workers stand up to shameless politicians like Abbot and organize to stay safe while working in the heat. Chapter 3 of the Worker’s Guide to Health and Safety provides activities that can be used to identify and take action to improve the workplace. In chapter 15 of the same book, you can find a helpful chart on first aid for heat illness and learn about the symptoms of too much heat. Please share these important resources with your communities!