Heat Regulation Compliance Questioned

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, July 19, 2007

Last year state regulations to protect outdoor workers from the heat were made permanent in California.  Under the rules, employers are required to provide access to shade, water and short rest periods.  But farm worker Manuel Nunez – speaking through a translator – told lawmakers that’s not happening where he works:

"The law is a really good law but the foreman and the actual ranchers, they laugh at the law."

Len Welsh is Acting Chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.  He says inspectors are still adjusting to the new regulations:

“we’re still ramping up to be honest, to get the word out, to do the enforcement, to hone our approach.”

A representative for the Western Growers Association says farmers are working to learn and follow the rules.