Lack of Federal Heat Protections For Outdoor, Farm Workers Draw Advocates’ Ire
On a summer morning near Dayton, Ohio, a temporary worker began his first day with a commercial roofing company around 6:30 a.m.
Mark Rainey, 60, was assigned to a crew to rip off and dispose of an old bank-building roof. Within hours, as the heat index reached 85 degrees, his co-workers noticed the new guy was “walking clumsily,” then became ill and collapsed, according to documents from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Rushed to the hospital on Aug. 1, 2012, Rainey was diagnosed with heat stroke and a core body temperature of 105.4 degrees; he died three weeks later. For the next 6 ½ years, the circumstances surrounding Rainey’s death became a vigorously fought battle between his employer and OSHA, highlighting the lack of a clear standard on heat protection for outdoor workers.