In July, Target announced a change to its longstanding dress code. The majority of its workers will now be able to wear shorts, CNN reported.
Previously, Target employees were required to wear solid-colored pants, capris, or skirts, CNN explained. Only employees who work outside, such as in the Lawn and Garden section, were allowed to wear shorts. But now, most of the company’s 440,000 workers in the U.S. have access to this option to beat the heat.
The reason, according to CNN, is the increasing temperature of the planet. The weather is getting hotter on average thanks to heat-trapping air pollution in the atmosphere. That change has raised summer temperatures in many regions, especially areas that were already hot and humid, and it has caused severe heat waves in the U.S. this year, especially in the South.
Target’s policy change is a smart one, given federal regulations for the workplace. OSHA requires employers to keep the location safe and free of many known hazards — and that includes excessive heat.
According to CNN, Target also has other policies in place to help employees stay cool, including breaks for water and rest when conditions are hot.
Unfortunately, not all employers follow these guidelines. According to a 2021 analysis by NPR, the rate of heat deaths among workers has doubled in the last three decades, indicating that conditions aren’t as safe as they used to be.
Workers and any other people who find themselves stuck somewhere hot can prevent serious conditions like heat stroke by staying out of the sun, drinking water, applying cool, wet cloths to their skin, and in extreme cases, immersing themselves completely in a cool water bath.
In the long term, one of the most effective ways to reverse this trend of heat deaths will be to bring down the temperature of the planet by reducing air pollution from dirty energy sources like coal, oil, and gas.
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