Supporters say the emergency measures have been fifteen years in the making, but Governor Schwarzenegger says recent heat-related deaths in farm fields helped bring about this agreement.
Earlier this week 24-year-old Constantino Cruz (Cruise) died after collapsing in the heat in a tomato field near Bakersfield. His Uncle, Antonio Cruz, spoke at the Capitol through a United Farmworkers interpreter about the hectic day of picking.
“It was when they were finishing off… finishing the day when he had a chance to drink water and that’s when he lost consciousness.”
Under the new regulations, employers must provide access to shaded areas and ensure drinking water is available to their employees. The measures also call for education of workers and employers on how to recognize, prevent and treat heat stress.
The state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board must review the emergency regulations that will apply to outdoor workers. They could go into effect by the middle of this month.