For the past two years, the Virginia General Assembly has sought to pass regulations mandating employers enact measures to protect workers from heat illness. The 2021 session failed to pass the three bills introduced by concerned legislators but they did call for a formation of a Regulatory Advisory Panel. Pasted below are comments we submitted. We’ll keep you posted.

You can read all the comments (including ones that call for a mandatory 15 to 45 minute break every hour to protect from heat illness) at the state’s Regulatory Town Hall.

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Here is the comment we submitted:

We have concerns about Virginia developing a heat illness standard apart from OSHA

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this proposed regulation. Our association represents (1) turfgrass professionals who are responsible for sports fields, golf courses, sod farms, commercial and home lawns and (2) landscapers who are responsible for trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and non-plant aspects of the outdoor environment. Our membership also includes university and municipal personnel from across the Commonwealth.

We deeply appreciate the concern expressed by legislators, associations, and individuals regarding the dangers of heat stress. We do not seek to minimize their concerns. The health and safety of all persons involved with the turfgrass and landscape industry is also our prime concern.

Our issue with the proposed regulation is the adoption of a state heat illness standard apart from the adoption of such a standard by OSHA. That being said, when the Regulatory Advisory Panel is created, we ask that a representative from the Virginia Agribusiness Council be appointed to represent the turf and landscape industries