It was another day in Texas, another delivery driver dying while out working during the hot summer months, highlighting the urgent need for better regulations around heat safety.
The latest victim, Juan Lorniea, was a 43-year-old from Fort Worth, Texas. He was driving for a delivery company when his truck broke down on a hot day, and he was unfortunately unable to bear the heat and eventually passed away from complications caused by heat exhaustion.
This tragic death brings back memories of another delivery driver from Austin, Taji Juarez, who lost his life in the summer of 2018 after working continuously for two weeks without a break. Since then, campaigners have been fighting for better measures to protect workers from heat-related fatalities – yet very little progress has been made in this area.
The problem is that Texas currently has no state law protecting workers from the dangers of working outdoors in extreme heat. Whereas California has governmental standards defining minimum temperatures for outdoor workers and ensuring that they’re given access to supplemental cooling devices such as fans and water, Texas does not have such regulations in place.
This has caused uproar among labor campaigners, who are demanding that action be taken to protect workers from heat-related injuries and deaths. A worker from Dallas, Agustin Carreon, stated that “people are dying so that companies can save a few pennies. We need the state to step in and create adequate standards for employers to protect their workers”.
It remains to be seen if the Texas government will take heed of the campaigners’ pleas and implement measures to ensure that workers are kept safe and not exposed to unnecessarily extreme temperatures. After all, as the tragic death of Juan Lorniea once again so clearly illustrates – no job is worth dying for.