Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition

Nevada bill would protect outdoor workers in extreme heat, wildfire smoke

CARSON CITY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Outdoor workers would have additional safety protections in extreme heat and poor air quality under a new bill introduced in the Nevada legislature this week.

Senate Bill 427, sponsored by Senator Edgar Flores, seeks to require employers to enact tighter health and safety protocols when temperatures exceed 95 degrees and when the air quality index exceeds 200.

If enacted, companies with over 25 employees would have to allow employees 10-minute water and shade breaks hourly in extreme heat and provide proper masks in bad air quality.

Flores, a Democrat representing part of Las Vegas, said the measure would not stop work altogether in extreme weather conditions, but provide additional steps to ensure workers’ safety.

We’ve had situations where unfortunately folk because of heat stroke end up in the hospital.

“I think the balance is allowing folk to work and not setting a line where if it hits this temperature you can’t work. We don’t want to do that,” he said.

Though the measure hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing yet, Flores said he expects mixed reactions from businesses – and that he understands concerns about productivity, but said the long-term benefits are worth it.

“Productivity in one day may be slightly hurt by taking a 10-minute break but the long-term investment is where you yield better results because you have a happier employee. You have a healthier employee.”

Flores told News 4-Fox 11 that Nevada OSHA has some regulatory protections but that this bill seeks to protect outdoor workers even further.

READ the bill here:

Senate Bill 427 by Ben Margiott