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Dozens of groups call on DeSantis to veto bill denying heat protections for outdoor workers

‘Preempting local governments’ ability to protect workers from climate-caused extreme heat is inhumane’


88 environmental, faith, and progressive groups are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto legislation that would ban local governments from requiring employers to provide protections for outdoor workers who toil in extreme heat.

The only county in Florida that had been considering enacting such a heat protection ordinance was in Miami-Dade County.

But after pressure from industry groups, the ordinance was substantially watered down to only take effect when outdoor temperature equaled or exceeded 95 degrees. However, after the Legislature passed its bill this session preempting local governments from enacting any heat protections, the proposed ordinance was withdrawn from the Miami-Dade County Commission’s agenda without comment last month.

The groups have penned two separate letters in recent days to the governor, who received the bill (HB 433) on Tuesday from the Legislature. He has 15 days to sign it or veto it. If he takes no action, the bill will become law without his signature.

“CS/CS/HB 433 would preempt local governments’ ability to pass protections for workers laboring in extreme heat. Floridians feel it getting hotter and understand how difficult and dangerous it is to labor in the sun and heat,” reads the letter sent out by 43 different groups on March 29. “Preempting local governments’ ability to protect workers from climate-caused extreme heat is inhumane and will have enormous negative economic impacts when lost productivity is taken into account.”

“Extreme heat is already a leading weather-related cause of death and workplace injury across the country,” the letter continues. “In the United States, extreme heat was estimated to be the cause of about 120,000 workplace injuries every year, and without action that number could rise to about 450,000 per year in 2050. From 2019 to 2022, heat related deaths rose a staggering 88% in Florida.”

Among those signing that letter are the League of Women Voters of Florida, Surfrider Foundation, Progress Florida and 12 separate chapters of the Sierra Club in Florida.

Another 45 groups sent a second letter dated April 2 to the governor.

“The bill harms Florida’s families of hardworking men and women whose labor is integral to our everyday lives,” reads that letter. “The bill also harms businesses that provide protections for their workers, risking their competitiveness in the marketplace.  Most importantly of all, the bill leaves hundreds of thousands of workers across the state with less oversight and protection, just as the state faces a labor shortage and significant losses to the state’s labor force.”

“As organizations that work with workers, laborers, and their families in some of the most difficult occupations in our state, we know what working outdoors in the high heat and humidity of Florida can do to workers’ health, productivity, and mental acuity,” it says. “Road workers, roofers, construction workers, landscapers, farmworkers, theme park workers, and electrical workers, among others, experience the challenge of working oftentimes in full sun, while having to wear protective clothing over their bodies when the relative temperature and humidity can be very high. This presents a serious risk to their ability to work safely and productively, if they do not have the opportunity to adequately protect themselves, through adequate water intake, necessary rest breaks, and access to a space to cool off in the shade. Heavy physical activity creates exertional heat, which increases a workers’ core body temperature as they perform their tasks.”

Among the groups signing that letter were the Farmworker Association of Florida, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans and Faith in Florida.

HB 433 was sponsored by Fort Myers House Republican Tiffany Esposito. It also includes a provision that will remove “living wage” ordinances currently in existence in certain counties in 2026.

But the part of the bill that prohibits local governments from requiring employers to meet or provide heat exposure requirements is inspiring calls for DeSantis to veto the legislation.

During committee hearings in the Legislature, some Republicans and business officials disputed the need for such laws, saying that employers are already protecting their workers who toil in the heat, a point disputed in the letter sent on Tuesday to DeSantis.

“If this is the case, then, why are industry leaders concerned about a bill that can protect those workers whose employers may not be providing those protections?  What is business afraid of if they are already doing the right thing?  We know of hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of workers who do not receive those protections in the workplace.”

Panama City Republican Sen. Jay Trumbull, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate during in the session, said the bill was needed to “create an even playing field and an understanding across every county and every city across the state that all heat related ordinances are going to be under the jurisdiction of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).”

But the bill’s critics dispute that allegation as well.

“Another industry argument is that OSHA regulations protect workers against heat stress,” they write in the April 2 letter. “If this were the case, OSHA would not have begun the arduous regulatory process of developing a heat stress standard.  The general duty clause is most often exercised only after a worker has died.”

“The truth is that Florida’s workers are NOT protected either by OSHA, nor necessarily by their employers, who, without regulations, are not incentivized to provide the key and very basic elements of training, water, breaks and shade.”

Florida Legislature, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Farmworkers, HB433, Worker Conditions, Workplace Safety, Will Gov. DeSantis veto HB433?


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