WASHINGTON DC (NEXSTAR) — Rosa Carballo says she spent her summers in Washington picking blueberries and cherries where temperatures reached triple digits.
“I was a young, skinny 13-year-old working in the fields,” Carballo said. ” I would have to carry my cooler everywhere I went…from tree to tree from plant to plant. All by myself because there was no water provided to us.”
Carballo says she was able to manage the heat, but others have not been so fortunate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 815 U.S. workers died from heat stress from 1992 through 2017.
California Democratic Congressman Judy Chu introduced a bill Wednesday that would expand protections for workers.
“Enough is enough.,” U.S. Rep. Chu said. ” A federal requirement that workers in high heat environments have paid breaks in cool spaces, access to water and limitations on how long they can be exposed to heat.”
The bill would also require companies to train their employees to know how to respond to someone suffering heat stress.
U.S. Representative (D-Arizona) Raul Grijalva says the bill protects all workers in every environment.
“What a simple gesture to provide water and shade,” U.S. Rep. Grijalva said. “In situations where they are working in factories and buildings in which there is not enough cooling.”
Grijalva says the House Committee on Education Labor will take up the bill on Thursday.