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New Jersey Bill Would Require Employers to Adopt Heat Stress Prevention Plans

New Jersey lawmakers are advancing a measure to protect workers from the dangers of heat stress, a growing concern as climate change pushes temperatures to unprecedented levels. The bill, introduced in January 2024, seeks to establish standards that would mandate employers to safeguard their employees from the harmful effects of excessive heat.

This legislative initiative comes in the wake of alarming statistics. 2023 was declared the warmest year on record globally, and heat-related deaths have become the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that between 2011 and 2021, at least 436 lives were lost due to heat exposure.

Under the proposed legislation, S. 2422, employers would be required to implement comprehensive heat stress prevention plans. These plans must include essential measures such as paid rest breaks, access to cool drinking water, shaded or climate-controlled areas for workers to recuperate, rotating work schedules to minimize heat exposure, emergency response protocols for heat-related injuries, postponing non-essential tasks during heatwaves and investing in PPE, administrative and engineering controls.

Additionally, the bill mandates comprehensive training for all employees to recognize high-risk heat conditions and identify the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Employers would also be required to meticulously track and report data on heat-related incidents and the effectiveness of their prevention plans. Non-compliant employers would face significant penalties, including fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 and potential jail time of 10 to 100 days. 

While the bill received unanimous support from the Senate Labor Committee, it has encountered opposition from business groups who argue that the proposed requirements would impose undue burdens on employers. Despite this resistance, the legislation comports with national and international efforts to address the urgent need to protect workers’ health and safety in the face of increasing global warming.

At the federal level, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) imposes a general duty on employers to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when feasible methods to abate those hazards exist.

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack represents New Jersey workers in a full range of employment law matters. Please call 551-245-8894 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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