Florida has followed Texas in banning local heat protections for outdoor workers, including those in the construction and glazing fields. Bill Herrle, Florida director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says the law (House Bill 433) aims to limit the power of local governments and end the maze of local ordinances.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill in response to Miami-Dade County’s effort to require shade and water for construction, farm and other outdoor workers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 433 in mid-April. It takes effect July 1, 2024, as summer temperatures reach their peak. Construction workers and glaziers are at continued risk of heat-related injuries, especially in the South, where average summer temperatures hover around 90 degrees. Florida State University’s Florida Climate Center (FCC) reports that the heat will only get worse.

FCC officials say that July 2023 was the hottest month ever recorded at several recording stations throughout the state. The rising temperatures are what Earth Day (held annually on April 22) seeks to highlight as climate change impacts the planet.

According to Herrle, the bill is less about heat risk and more about business. He explains that small business owners don’t have the “time or the resources to navigate a confusing and contradictory array of local ordinances that go beyond what the state already mandates.”

The bill’s passage follows Texas’ 2023 law, which ended local rules mandating water breaks for construction workers. Texas glazing companies, including Momentum Glass and Haley-Greer, say the end to forced water breaks has no impact, as they offer multiple daily breaks and refreshments.

According to media reports, DeSantis signed the bill in response to Miami-Dade County’s effort to require shade and water for construction, farm and other outdoor workers. HB 433 restricts local government’s power by ensuring they cannot force companies to “meet or provide heat exposure requirements beyond those required by law.”

There are no federal standards protecting outdoor workers from heat.

Rep. Tiffany Esposito of Fort Myers, who sponsored the bill in the House, says the law is intended to ensure businesses aren’t burdened with requirements that hinder their ability to work.

“This is very much a people-centric bill,” she says. “If we want to talk about Floridians thriving, they do that by having good job opportunities. And if you want to talk about health and wellness, and you want to talk about how we can make sure that all Floridians are healthy, you do that by making sure that they have a good job. And to provide good jobs, we need to not put businesses out of business.”

According to the bill’s summary analysis, it prohibits political subdivisions from:

  • Requiring an employer, including an employer contracting with the political subdivision, to meet or provide heat exposure requirements not otherwise required under state or federal law; and
  • Giving preference, or considering or seeking information, in a competitive solicitation to an employer based on the employer’s heat exposure requirements.

1 Comment

  1. I am in Texas and if it is hot and my guys need a brake, I could care less what the government tells me out when and how many brakes they need.

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