No air conditioning, no fans, just some extra Gatorades: Workers in the Pacific Northwest were forced to swelter through last month’s heat dome.
In June, a heat dome submerged the Pacific Northwest, sending temperatures soaring in a region where air conditioning is relatively uncommon compared to the rest of the country. Now, new records from Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office reveal that workers were particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses in that time period, with more than 100 reporting that they were toiling in triple-digit temperatures without fans, cooling measures, or additional breaks, HuffPost reports. Workers in restaurant kitchens said that fainting was common, air conditioners were frequently broken, and managers and owners were unmoved by their pleas to close for the heat wave. In fact, one restaurant reportedly locked its walk-in refrigerator to prevent employees from using it to cool off. One Red Robin diner noted in a complaint: “The only [extra] compensation they got was Gatorades.”