"A fifth of reported heat-related deaths between 2017 and 2022 were agricultural workers, according to OSHA data. Academics, occupational health specialists and advocacy groups are calling attention to the under-reported impact of climate change on this group from heatwaves."
"Juan Peña, 28, has worked in the fields since childhood, often exposing his body to extreme heat like the wave hitting the Midwest this week.
The heat can cause such deep pain in his whole body that he just wants to lie down, he said. It sucks his desire to work, as his body tells him he can’t take another hot day on the job. On those days, his only motivation to get out of bed is to earn dollars to send to his 10-month-old baby in Mexico.
Farmworkers, such as Peña and the crew he leads in Iowa, are unprotected against heat-related illnesses. They are 35 times more likely to die from heat exposure than workers in other sectors, according to the National Institutes of Health, and the absence of a federal heat regulation that guarantees their safety and life – when scientists have warned that global warming will continue – increases that risk.
Over a six-year period, 121 workers lost their lives due to exposure to severe environmental heat. One-fifth of these fatalities were individuals employed in the agricultural sector, according to an Investigate Midwest analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Administration data."