Sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. In this case, both.

Check out the photo above. (If you’re getting this by email, click up on the headline.)

Now anyone who has read the article, or knows anything about heat-related illness (which apparently doesn’t include headline writers at KGET) should know that this makes no sense. Respirators do not protect workers against heat. Respirators do, however, protect workers against wildfire smoke and Valley Fever (a disease caused by a fungus that grows in the soil and dirt in some areas of California and the southwestern United States.) Which is what the respirators referenced here are actually for.


Even then, respirators are a last resort to prevent exposure to valley fever. Using water and other dust mitigation procedures always take priority over the use of respirators.

If you want to protect workers against heat-related illness, employers need to provide water, shade and rest — which is what California’s outdoor heat standard requires. Respirators don’t help. And can actually make the problem worse.

There is a better headline (and article) here if you want to learn something about CalOSHA’s outreach to farm labor contractors and farm workers in California’s Central Valley.

Meanwhile, KGET, I know times are hard, budgets are tight and good help is hard to find. But really?

Here’s a suggestion. Maybe let the journalists who write the articles check out the headlines before posting or publishing. How hard can that be?


2 thoughts on “Shaking My Head”
  1. I hope all is well. Interesting results in the Md primary. As you may recall, I moved to Mokelumne Hill, Ca some 16 months ago. Located in the foothills (an hour SE of Sacramento), Moke Hill is a chunk of paradise. Now to comment on your article. During my employment with CWA between 2009- 2011 (as I recall), I received an emergency request from our OSH activists and officers in CWA’s San Jose Local. Telecommunications technicians were being assigned by ATT to repair telecommunications equipment following a significant fire without heat stress training, adherence to the Cal OSHA Heat Stress standard, and personal protective equipment including respirators. Well, with my usual response “Those corporate thugs cannot get away with this,” I developed an eventually successful respinse with CWA district staff (headquartered in Sacramento), local officers and OSH activists. After discussing this matter with corporate ATT staff in California and Dallas, Tx without successful resolution, we filed a contractual grievance, staged several job actions, and a complaint with Cal OSHA. I knew several higher-ups in the agency so I believed we would get adequate support in this unusual case regarding coverage under the Heat Stress standard. Meanwhile, corporate ATT folks refused to agree with my and California leaders/members demands. However, after consulting with California IAFF leaders, we convinced Cal OSHA to agree with our comprehensive proposal going beyond the Heat Stress standard to include specifics of the Cal OSHA Respiratory Standard. Fortunately, CWA continues to utilize the specifics contained in this victory throughout in California and other states with heat stress standards. This was a huge union victory.

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