This new law will require outdoor workers to stay hydrated, cool off
SPOKANE, Wash. — Many of us are fortunate enough to work inside, but not everyone has that luxury. With the weather heating up once again, it can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
Many construction workers have left for the day; that’s because working in this type of heat can be deadly.
But now, there are new rules in Washington to keep workers safe.
You could say working in construction site isn’t for the faint of heart.
“Construction doesn’t have a stop time,” said Baker Construction safety director, Nate Long. “We work rain, shine, snow, heat.”
We’re not just talking about any kind of heat, either, with temperatures already in the triple digits for several days this year.
“This is not new for us,” said Long. “We’ve been working in the heat every summer.”
For Long, keeping workers safe means keeping them hydrated and healthy when things start to heat up.
“We are a family and we look after each other. That’s something that we pride ourselves on,” said Long.
Soon, all employers will have to do the same.
The Department of Labor and Industries’ new regulations aim to protect workers who are exposed to heat for a long time. Starting Tuesday, when temperatures reach 100 degrees or more, employers must provide shade for workers to cool down.
Workers will get paid cooldown rest breaks of at least ten minutes every two hours.
“We have the job trailer, here, where they can rest,” explained Long. “Most people like to take their lunches in the A/C of their car.”
Employers also have to provide cold water to workers when temperatures are at or above 89 degrees.
“We take the necessary precautions to make sure that our guys stay hydrated,” said Long.
Because even in those summer months, no matter how hot it gets…
“It doesn’t stop. Construction keeps going,” said Long.
These new rules go into effect July 13 and they apply to all industries where workers are spending extended periods of time outdoors.
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