Skip to main content
10th Annual Women Business Leaders Forum Register Today!

NJBIA and 28 business groups are urging the Legislature to reject an overly broad bill that would hamper the ability of New Jersey businesses to operate in hot weather, asking lawmakers to allow forthcoming federal regulations apply a nationwide standard instead.

The bill, S-2422/A-3521 (Cryan/Quijano), would mandate expedited rules on heat stress for employees in indoor and outdoor environments. However, its overly broad, duplicative and one-size-fits-all provisions could undermine the ability of New Jersey businesses to remain open during summer heat waves, the business groups said.

“This summer, businesses will use proven safety methods and new technologies to recognize the signs of heat stress and change operations to account for heat waves, when necessary,” the May 30 letter said. “This bill does not recognize that, however, and places an overwhelming, one-size-fits-all regulatory burden on business in very different industries that present vastly different risks.”

The bill would force employers to stop work during periods of excessive heat unless a worker’s duties are essential – a requirement that could bring a host of unintended consequences, including smaller paychecks for employees, disruptions to the normal course of business, and companies rethinking their decision to do business in New Jersey during the summer.

“While excessive heat presents a hazard that must be addressed, employers have proven that they can provide safe workplaces for employees during these times,” the letter said. “Some of the steps that employers are taking are recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration including increased access to shade, water, and rest, misting fans, moisture wicking clothing, and cooling vests.”

The business groups also said they have “grave concerns” about a provision in the bill that gives the state Labor Commissioner authority to issue a stop-work order across a business’ entire operation.

“This bill would allow for the smallest of administrative errors to result in a company shuttering its operations across the state, not just the one accused of a violation,” the letter said. “Hypothetically, a business with 100 locations across the state may have to close each establishment and send workers home if the Labor Commissioner issues a stop-work order to one site.”

The bill is also duplicative because OSHA is currently in the process of promulgating rules, expected by September, to reduce risks from heat exposure in indoor and outdoor settings.

“If New Jersey implements a heat standard, employers will be forced to comply with one set of regulations this year and another set when OSHA implements its own,” the letter states. “Our Legislature should be focused on making the regulatory environment easier for businesses to comply with, not more difficult.

“We are committed to fostering safe workplaces and will do exactly that this summer and every time there is a spike in temperature,” the letter said. “We respectfully request that lawmakers reject this legislation in favor of the forthcoming OSHA heat standard that will apply uniformly across the U.S.”

The Senate and Assembly labor committees both voted to release S-2422/A-3521 in May and referred the legislation to appropriations committees for further action.

In addition to NJBIA, the other business groups who are signatories on the letter are:

  1. New Jersey Chamber of Commerce
  2. Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey
  3. The Brewers Guild of New Jersey
  4. New Jersey Tourism Industry Association
  5. New Jersey Cemetery Association
  6. New Jersey School Board Association
  7. New Jersey Farm Bureau
  8. New Jersey Food Council
  9. New Jersey Apartment Association
  10. New Jersey Association of Counties
  11. New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers
  12. New Jersey Civil Justice Institute
  13. New Jersey Gasoline, C-store, Automotive Association
  14. New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association
  15. National Federation of Independent Businesses
  16. New Jersey Electronic Life Safety Association
  17. Sheet Metal Contractors Association
  18. Greater Northeast Motor Coach Association
  19. Shipping Association of New York & New Jersey
  20. NAIOP
  21. Fuel Merchants Association of NJ
  22. New Jersey Motor Truck Association
  23. New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association
  24. Mechanical Contractors Association of New Jersey
  25. New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association
  26. New Jersey Green Industry Council
  27. New Jersey Cable Telecommunications Association
  28. National Waste & Recycling Association – NJ Chapter