In July, Target made an update to its traditional dress code, allowing the majority of its employees to wear shorts, as reported by CNN.
Previously, Target employees were obligated to don solid-colored pants, capris, or skirts, as detailed by CNN. Exceptions were made for employees in roles requiring outdoor work, like those in the Lawn and Garden section, who were permitted to wear shorts. However, a significant shift has occurred, with the majority of the company’s 440,000 U.S. employees now having the option to wear shorts to cope with rising temperatures.
CNN attributes this change to the escalating global temperatures, primarily driven by the accumulation of heat-trapping air pollutants in the atmosphere. This climate shift has resulted in higher summer temperatures across numerous regions, particularly in already hot and humid areas, leading to severe heatwaves in the United States, especially in the South.
Target’s recent policy change is a strategic move, aligning with federal workplace regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that employers maintain a safe environment, which includes addressing excessive heat concerns. As reported by CNN, Target has implemented various measures to help employees combat the heat, including providing breaks for hydration and rest during hot conditions.
Regrettably, not all employers adhere to these guidelines. A 2021 NPR analysis revealed a troubling trend: the incidence of heat-related worker fatalities has doubled over the past thirty years, underscoring the growing safety concerns.
Workers and individuals in hot environments can safeguard themselves against severe conditions like heat stroke by seeking shade, staying hydrated, applying damp, cool cloths to their skin, and, in extreme cases, immersing themselves in cool water baths.
In the long term, one of the most effective strategies to combat this rising trend in heat-related deaths is to address the root cause by reducing air pollution generated by fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. This can contribute to cooling the planet and ultimately mitigating heat-related risks.