Biden to announce measures to protect workers, communities during heat wave

July 27 (UPI) — President Joe Biden will announce new measures Thursday to protect workers and other populations amid a record-breaking heat wave that has gripped the country for most of the month.

Biden plans to meet Thursday with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg at the White House to discuss the ongoing impact of one of the hottest summers on record, and how the government can provide relief to communities that have been racked by daily temperatures of more than 100 degrees.

Biden plans order the Labor Department to issue a Hazard Alert declaring the heat wave a potential threat to employee health and safety, which would provide federal protections to workers who face the highest risk — like farmworkers, firefighters, construction teams, road crews and other outdoor laborers.

As part of the executive moves, the Labor Department will conduct inspections in high-risk industries like construction and agriculture, while issuing new guidelines explaining the rights of employees under extreme conditions.

The department was prepared to enforce the policies and issue fines for any heat-safety violations, the White House said.

One of the key changes seeks to protect workers against retaliation if conflicts emerge over the policies in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was also set to release increased worker protections in the coming days while continuing to develop a national standard for workplace heat-safety rules.

Heat is the No. 1 cause of weather-related deaths in the United States, with more than 600 heat-related fatalities each year, while more than 400 U.S. workers have died from heat exposure since 2011, the White House said, adding that thousands more are hospitalized.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has set aside about $7 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to improve the nation’s weather forecasts.

The agency is also working with universities and other institutions to develop better weather-prediction capabilities around the globe, helping populations to anticipate extreme weather events, including extreme heat.

Meanwhile, the Interior Department plans to invest $152 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve water storage infrastructure, and expand recycling and conservation efforts in drought-stricken regions like California, Colorado, and Washington.

Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development was investing billions to make office buildings more energy efficient and to establish outdoor cooling centers around the nation to help the public remain hydrated.

The administration has spent another $50 billion from Investing in America Act to help communities deal with growing climate impacts.

The sweltering conditions were forecast to continue through September and potentially into late fall and the start of winter, weather experts said previously, while an El Nino event was also expected to deliver more heat records in the coming months.

The Southwest United States has been particularly hard hit, with daily temperatures approaching 130 degrees in parts of Arizona and Nevada, and nearly 120 degrees in some areas of Southern California

The days have been so miserable in Arizona that public officials in Phoenix issued warnings for residents to avoid walking barefoot on patios, sidewalks and other asphalt surfaces, which were burning hot.

An analysis released this week by World Weather Attribution says extreme world temperatures in July were a likely sign of worsening climate change and that heat waves were no longer rare but at least 50 times more likely in the modern world.

Authored by Upi via Breitbart July 27th 2023