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Amidst Heat Wave, Texas Nixes Water Breaks for Construction Workers

Sophie Park/The Texas Tribune

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has approved a law that eliminates water breaks for construction workers, despite growing concerns about increased heat-related deaths. The law prevents cities from implementing regulations mandating breaks and has drawn criticism from unions and worker rights advocates.

The legislation is viewed as a move by Texas Republicans to limit progressive policies in cities with liberal leanings. Proponents argue that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) already ensures a safe working environment. However, opponents argue that local ordinances are crucial for worker protection and that OSHA regulations are inadequate.

“Construction is a deadly industry. Whatever the minimum protection is, it can save a life. We are talking about a human right,” said Ana Gonzalez, deputy director of policy and politics at the Texas AFL-CIO. “We will see more deaths, especially in Texas’ high temperatures.”

Efforts to pass state laws mandating breaks did not succeed during the legislative session. There is a possibility that cities may take legal action to preserve their water break ordinances.

Read full story on Texas Tribune

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