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Investigation Looks Into Heat-Related Deaths of California Workers

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With climate change resulting in higher temperatures, outdoor workers are more at risk of preventable heat-related illnesses. (iStock)

In the last 10 years, nearly four dozen California workers have died from  heat related-illnesses, according to an investigation by Columbia Journalism Investigations, NPR, KPCC and The California Newsroom. Public health experts say heat-related deaths are 100% preventable. But the investigation finds they still occur because of the chronic underfunding and understaffing of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health — Cal/OSHA, which is charged with enforcing heat standards and protocols. Without proper inspections, employers can skirt regulations, placing farmworkers, construction workers, landscapers and others who work outdoors at a higher risk for heat-related deaths. With climate change only making California’s temperatures hotter, we’ll talk to the story’s reporters about the breadth of the issue and what’s being done to address it.

Guests:

Jacob Margolis, science reporter, KPCC and LAist

Brian Edwards, reporter and investigative fellow, Columbia University

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