June 13, 2024

California Standards Board Moves Forward with Indoor Heat Protection Rules Amidst Board Shakeup

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is poised to implement long-anticipated regulations to protect workers from indoor heat. However, recent leadership changes have brought additional scrutiny to the process. 

Governor Gavin Newsom recently removed one board member and demoted the chairperson of the workplace safety board following their public criticism of his administration’s handling of the proposed heat protection rule. This shakeup comes just weeks before the board is expected to approve the rule, which mandates businesses to protect indoor workers from extreme heat. 

The rule’s approval, originally set for March, was delayed when Newsom’s administration withdrew its support over concerns about the associated costs. This last-minute decision drew significant backlash from board members, particularly those who have now been reassigned. 

Laura Stock, a board member who vocally opposed the delay, was removed from her position without explanation. Chairperson Dave Thomas, who also criticized the administration’s actions, was replaced by Joseph Alioto, though Thomas remains a board member. 

Despite the upheaval, the board is expected to vote on an amended version of the rule on June 20, which now excludes state prisons to address cost concerns.