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Miami-Dade outdoor workers win Round 1 in passage of heat protections

Miami-Dade outdoor workers win Round 1 in passage of heat protections
Miami-Dade outdoor workers win Round 1 in passage of heat protections 02:37

MIAMI - People who work outdoors in Miami-Dade have cleared another hurdle in getting the county to approve protections - including breaks in the shade and water while on the job. 

On Tuesday, the commission unanimously passed the "Que Calor Ordinance." However, it is not a done deal yet. The ordinance will have to go through a second hearing and vote, possibly in September. 

The request to get the "Que Calor Ordinance" before the commission was made by WeCount, an organization of agricultural, domestic, and construction workers in South Florida. 

While most occupational safety is regulated at the federal level, county Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and county administrations held discussions with We Count representatives to come up with solutions. 

These are some of the proposed protections We Count "Que Calor Campaign" includes:

  • A heat exposure safety program to educate workers and their supervisors about the risks of heat exposure and the best ways to minimize heat-related illness.
  • On days with a heat index of 90+ degrees, a right to 10 minutes of paid rest and water breaks every 2 hours to cool down under shade to avoid heat stroke.
  • A new county Office of Workplace Health and Safety to help enforce labor protections and support employers and workers with implementing heat safety protocols that can prevent heat-related illness and save lives.

Working in the heat for extended periods of time with breaks for water and shade can be dangerous. 

"When temperatures start rising to extreme heat like 110 degrees, without drinking water, getting out of the sun, our organs like our brain and our heart can't survive those higher temperatures, the person is prone to have seizures and other symptoms of heat stroke," said Dr. Lilly Ostrer.  

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