Farmworkers, truck drivers face dangerous heat as temps sizzle across Bay Area

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Outdoor workers face dangerous heat as temps sizzle
Across the region, extreme heat has tested many people who work outside, especially those who drive delivery trucks and working at farms.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Across the region, extreme heat has tested many people who work outside. Many of them have faced triple digits outside or possibly even inside their work vehicles.

The rush is on for delivery driver Dave McShea to drop off boxes of wine across the Bay Area.

"We attempt to get the bulk of the day done early to avoid the heat," McShea said. "It's a matter of staying hydrated, doing whatever you can: stay in the shade, make sure your vehicle has functioning air conditioning which for some of the box truck drivers is not the case, unfortunately."

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Fedex driver David Oliveras says it's like an oven inside his truck. Temperatures can get to 100 degrees or more since there are no windows.

Because of that, Oliveras says he doesn't spend more than three minutes inside. He constantly moving in and out. That helps him stay cool.

Food truck operator Arulfo Ramirez says he and his staff are feeling the heat.

"The past two days, it was like 120 inside the truck," Ramirez said. "Sometimes I have to turn off the roaster. When I turn it on, it's hotter because we have the fryer."

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From the streets to the fields, workers outside are dealing with the most intense heat the area has seen in a while.

UFW Foundation's Eriberto Fernandez explains that farmworkers have rights.

"Farmworkers have the right to access to water -- clean drinking water, to rest breaks, to call the paramedics if they need to, to be able to stop work if they need to," Fernandez said.

According to Department of Industrial Relations and Cal-OSHA, California has a heat illness prevention law. Employees must provide shade, water and encourage breaks for workers to cool down. And, they must have a plan if and when someone suffers heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.


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