Loved ones succumb to extreme heat at work, igniting demand for change.

By | August 19, 2023

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death – Obituary News : Tragic Deaths Highlight the Dangers of Extreme Heat for Outdoor Workers

Two recent deaths in Texas have shed light on the dangers that outdoor workers face in extreme heat conditions. Gabriel Infante, 24, and Eugene Gates, 66, both passed away while on the job, with heat exhaustion being the suspected cause of their deaths. These incidents highlight the need for improved worker protections and safety measures in the face of rising temperatures.

Gabriel Infante was a new employee at B Comm Constructions, where he was tasked with installing fiber optic cables in San Antonio. On the fifth day of his job, with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees, Gabriel began to exhibit signs of delirium and paranoia. He then fell and hit his head, leading to his eventual death. Despite EMTs suspecting heat stroke, the site supervisor demanded a drug test and called the police. Gabriel’s mother has since filed a lawsuit claiming “gross negligence” on the part of his employer.

Eugene Gates, a 36-year veteran of the US Postal Service, collapsed while delivering mail in the Dallas area. His wife, Carla Gates, believes that the extreme heat was a contributing factor to his collapse. On the day of his collapse, temperatures in the Dallas area felt like 119 degrees. A thermometer inside another USPS truck in the area showed a temperature of almost 140 degrees just two days before Eugene’s death. Carla is calling for improved worker safety measures to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

These deaths are not isolated incidents. From 2011 to 2021, there were at least 436 work-related deaths in the US due to environmental heat exposure. With record-breaking heat becoming more common, experts warn that more deaths are likely to occur if proper precautions are not taken.

Carla Gates and Velma Infante, the mothers of Eugene and Gabriel, respectively, are advocating for better protection for outdoor workers in extreme heat conditions. They argue that existing safety measures are insufficient and that employers should be held accountable for providing adequate protection to their employees.

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Currently, there are no federal standards in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically addressing extreme heat. However, in September 2021, the Biden administration announced plans to review these standards. Velma Infante fears that other state governors may follow Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s lead and implement laws that could roll back local worker protections.

As temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, it is crucial that measures are put in place to protect outdoor workers. Mandatory water breaks, shaded rest areas, and education on recognizing early signs of heat exhaustion are just some of the potential solutions. It is the responsibility of employers and lawmakers to prioritize worker safety and prevent further tragedies like those of Gabriel Infante and Eugene Gates from occurring..