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Bill Mandates Breaks Every 4 Hours for Construction Workers

Dive Brief:

  • New legislation would require U.S. construction employers to allow workers to take a paid 15-minute break every four hours. Representative Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) filed the Construction Injury Prevention Act Wednesday to help address heat-related illness and death among construction workers, but it’s not clear if it would apply year-round or only during times of extreme heat.
  • OSHA’s recordkeeping of heat-related deaths is incomplete, but at least 384 workers have died from heat exposure in the past decade — many of them construction workers, according to an analysis of federal data by NPR and Columbia Journalism Investigations. The study found that Latinos accounted for a third of all heat-related fatalities since 2010, though they comprise only 17% of the workforce.
  • “I introduced this bill to protect the construction workers who are building a better America across our nation and the Houston region,” said Garcia in a press release. “I’ve heard far too many horror stories from workers who have been seriously injured due to employers not allowing rest breaks. These cruel business practices hurt minorities and Latino communities, like those in my district, the most.”

Dive Insight:

At the moment, it’s not clear what kind of impact the legislation would have for contractors.

“We would have to consult with our members to see what, if any, impact this [legislation] would have,” said Kevin Cannon, senior director of safety and health service with Associated General Contractors of America. “What employers should do about hazards related to heat is follow what OSHA’s been incorporating as part of their heat illness prevention campaign since 2011. There’s three components: water, rest, shade. That’s already built in, we encourage our members to follow it.”

Cannon also said that OSHA’s guidance is not well defined, and AGC has asked the agency for clarity on how it will enforce its upcoming heat standard.

Certain states have established rest-break requirements on their own, as have some cities. For example, Dallas and Austin, Texas, require employers to provide construction workers with a 10-minute water break every four hours.

In addition to mandatory minimum rest breaks, the CIPA legislation would:

  • Prohibit employer retaliation against an employee for taking paid rest breaks.
  • Require employers to notify new employees of their right to paid rest breaks at the start of employment.
  • Require employers to post notice of employees’ right to paid rest breaks in a public space and in both English and Spanish.

While Garcia has no plans for how oversight and regulation will occur, she plans to hash those specifics out once the bill is assigned to a committee, Houston Public Media reported.

Will contractors feel the heat?

A heat wave broiled swathes of the U.S. and Europe last week and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri set records for high temperatures, with Wichita Falls, Texas, reaching 115 degrees on July 19. The problem will likely worsen in coming years: Climate change is contributing to more frequent and more intense heat waves, which create safety risks for construction workers in particular, according to a 2022 California legislative analysis.

“It’s no secret the job of building America is a dangerous one. Sadly, construction workers suffer death and injuries from extreme temperatures every day in all corners of this country, so we must take this important step to protect our construction workforce,” said Jeremy Hendricks, assistant business manager of the Southwest Laborers District Council, in Garcia’s release.

Garcia first pitched a similar bill as a Texas state senator in 2017, but it faced opposition from builders’ groups, which argued the bill wasn’t necessary since OSHA already regulates such matters. However, neither federal nor Texas state law have requirements for work breaks at all.

OSHA is working to establish a national heat standard — which it currently lacks — to allow contractors to devise their own heat illness prevention plans. The agency’s heat-related illness prevention campaign mostly focuses on worker and employer education. OSHA also said it is stepping up heat-related workplace inspections.

(Construction Dive)

Notice: Annual Claims Must Now be Submitted Only in Work Comp Campus

Effective July 26, 2022, the Special Compensation Fund no longer accepts annual claims for reimbursement through the U.S. Postal Service, email or fax. All annual claims for reimbursement of second-injury (SI) and supplementary benefits (SB) must be submitted in Work Comp Campus.

For more information about filing annual claims in Campus, visit
on the DLI website. Pages 118 through 123 provide instructions about submitting annual claims. Note:  The option to select SI/SB is not available. When submitting both SI and SB claims they must be submitted individually.

Contact us


MNOSHA Compliance: Safety Lines Newsletter

Safety Lines is a quarterly publication of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Its purpose is to promote occupational safety and health and to inform readers of the purpose, plans and progress of Minnesota OSHA. Visit the archive for past editions.

July 2022

View the July 2022 edition of Safety Lines


  • Working in the summer sun:  Steps, tools to prevent heat illness
  • How teens get injured at work
  • Minnesota’s newest MNSHARP worksites recognized
  • Translated materials, Language Line available via DLI website
  • Construction Seminar dates for 2022/2023 season
  • Results of audit by federal OSHA available online soon
  • Frontline Worker Pay application open until July 22
  • MNOSHA fatality, serious-injury investigations summaries online
  • Safe + Sound Week 2022 – Aug. 15 through 21
  • Free on-site safety and health consultations available
  • Construction work pauses druing national fall-prevention stand-down
  • SOII sauce:  SOII, CFOI interactive chart packages bring statistics to life
  • MNOSHA Compliance signs safety, health partnerships
  • DLI thanks employers for participating in injury, illness survey
  • Reviewing the basics:  Recordkeeping training sessions offered in October
  • Minnesota OSHA’s calendar of events


Sign up to be notified by email when a new edition of Safety Lines is available online. (Enter your email address and name, then click “Subscribe.” A password is optional and not necessary to subscribe.) Subscribers receive an email message each quarter when a new edition is available online. They may also receive periodic email updates from Minnesota OSHA.

Notice of Hearing: Possible Amendments to Rules Governing the Minnesota Residential Energy Code

Chapter 1322, Minnesota Residential Energy Code

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will conduct a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, via Webex, for the purposes of taking public comment and testimony regarding the appropriateness of amending the existing Minnesota Residential Energy Code, Minnesota Rules, chapter 1322, to adopt the residential provisions of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The Notice of Hearing related to this hearing will be published in the July 18, 2022, edition of the State Register.

The Notice of Hearing provides details about the hearing and, with other information, is available in the rulemaking docket.

Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1322, Residential Energy Code

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is reviewing the residential provisions of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.

Published notices and comment periods

Public hearing; date and place of hearing

A public hearing will be held on Aug. 23, 2022, via Webex. Register here to participate by computer or Webex app.

To participate by phone, when it’s time for the hearing call 415-655-0003 or 855-282-6330 and enter access code 2480 297 4382.

ALJ reports

To be determined.

Timetable/status of the rule proceeding; agency determinations

The Department of Labor and Industry is reviewing the residential provisions of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.

Written comments, questions and requests

Contact person for procedural questions and to submit comments:
Amanda Spuckler
Phone:  651-284-5006

(Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry)

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