"Farm Workers’ Union Sues California Agency Over Rules on Heat Safety"

"The United Farm Workers union sued California’s occupational health and safety agency on Thursday, accusing it of doing too little to prevent farm laborers’ deaths from heat illness.

The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Los Angeles, says 11 farm workers have died from heat illness since California adopted regulations in 2005 aimed at stopping such deaths. It says that the regulations are too weak and that the safety agency has too few investigators and inspects too few farms, where laborers often work in heat exceeding 100 degrees.

Six farm workers died from heat illness last year, according to the lawsuit. State officials say three did. None have died this year, but several were taken to the hospital, lawyers for the union said."

Steven Greenhouse reports for the New York Times July 30, 2009.

Friday, July 31, 2009