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Ensuring the Right to Rest: City Ordinances and Access to Rest Breaks for Workers in the Construction Industry

Scott, Jennifer, PhD, LMSW; Boggess, Bethany, MPH; Timm, Emily, BA

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 4 - p 331–336
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001203
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
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Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of city Rest Break Ordinance (RBO) policies in expanding access to rest at work.

Methods: We use data from surveys of construction workers in Austin and Dallas, Texas, in 2009, 2012, and 2015 (n = 557) to calculate the odds of receiving a rest break in pre- versus post-RBO Austin and in post-RBO Austin versus pre-RBO Dallas, controlling for demographic and employment characteristics.

Results: Construction workers were 35% more likely to report receiving a rest break in Austin post-RBO and 16% less likely in Dallas without a RBO as compared to Austin with a RBO.

Conclusion: The increased likelihood of receiving rest breaks at work in a RBO city suggests that, in the absence of enforceable national standards, city-level RBOs can be an important first step to effective prevention of heat-related illnesses (HRIs) and heat-related fatalities at work.

School of Social Work, College of Human Sciences & Education, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Dr Scott); Workers Defense Project, Austin, Texas (Ms Boggess, Ms Timm).

Address correspondence to: Jennifer Scott, PhD, LMSW, 330 Huey P. Long Field House, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 (jenscott@lsu.edu).

Numerous supporters funded the cross-sectional surveys utilized in this study during 2009, 2012, and 2015. In 2009, the Sociological Initiatives Foundation provided generous support. In 2012, the Center for Construction Research and Training, Ford Foundation, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Marek Family Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, and the Sociological Initiatives Foundation all supported the research. In 2015, surveys were funded by the Marek Family Foundation.

City Rest Break Ordinances and access to rest breaks in the construction industry.

Numerous supporters funded the cross-sectional surveys utilized in this study during 2009, 2012, and 2015. In 2009, the Sociological Initiatives Foundation provided generous support. In 2012, the Center for Construction Research and Training, Ford Foundation, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Marek Family Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, and the Sociological Initiatives Foundation all supported the research. In 2015, surveys were funded by the Marek Family Foundation.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine