DeSantis signs bill banning water, shade breaks for laborers

By Adam Aton | 04/12/2024 01:44 PM EDT

Business groups pushed for the new law after Miami-Dade considered requiring heat protections for outdoor workers.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media at the state Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said heat protections considered by Miami-Dade could "cause a lot of problems." Phil Sears/AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed into a law a ban on local heat protections for outdoor workers, a change sought by business groups after Miami-Dade County considered mandating shade and water breaks.

The new law, H.B. 433, forbids cities and counties from requiring employers to limit workers’ exposure to heat, or requiring them to offer water, shade, rest breaks or training for how people who work outdoor can protect themselves from heat. It also blocks local governments from establishing protections for workers who report excessive heat, or from requiring government contractors — such as companies that landscape public property — to have heat protections as part of the bidding process.

The move makes Florida and Texas among the only states in the country with heat protection bans. Texas last year passed a law blocking Dallas and Austin from requiring heat breaks for construction workers. A state court declared the law, nicknamed the “Death Star” bill by opponents, unconstitutional, but it remains in effect while litigation continues.


The Biden administration has started to draft new heat rules for employers, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration faces a long process before they can be finalized. Some states, such as Washington and Oregon, have responded to the delay by passing their own heat standards.