Burning Issue: America's Battle for Heat Protections

In the searing heat of Texas, Roendy Granillo's tragic death sparked a movement for worker protection. But why are heat regulations being opposed in some regions of the US?

In 2015, Roendy's family led protests demanding water breaks for construction workers. Dallas became one of the first Texas cities to mandate such breaks, but the fight didn't end there.

New state laws, like the one signed by Governor Greg Abbott, have started rolling back heat protection ordinances, leaving workers vulnerable once again.

Climate change is pushing temperatures to record highs, and the number of heat-related worker deaths has doubled since the 1990s. Heat is the deadliest form of extreme weather, and it's taking a toll.

Shocking fact: More than 600 people died from heat exposure on the job between 2005 and 2021. Undocumented workers are often the most at risk due to fears of reporting unsafe conditions.

Despite this alarming reality, the US lacks substantial local, state, or federal heat protection regulations. The issue is gaining attention, but change is slow.

In 2021, OSHA announced its intent to create worker protections for water, rest, and shade, but it's unclear when or if these rules will become a reality.

Five states, including California, Oregon, and Washington, have enacted heat-related worker protections, but elsewhere, industry groups have successfully fought these efforts.

In Nevada, heat-related complaints have doubled, but lawmakers voted down heat protections due to industry opposition. The story repeats in many states.

Some labor groups are focusing on the county level to push for heat protection, countering inaction at the state level. Industry groups often oppose these measures behind closed doors.

While the hottest regions are resisting change, states like California and Oregon have passed strong heat protections, saving lives.

In Texas, the battle continues as workers remain at risk. Heat protection is not a priority for some leaders, but advocates like Jasmine Granillo are keeping the fight alive.