Dallas to require breaks for construction workers

- The Dallas City Council voted 10-5 Wednesday in favor of a plan to require regular rest breaks for construction workers.

The issue came up last year when a labor group complained that many workers had no breaks, even for water on hot days.

The plan calls for 10-minute breaks every four hours for construction workers in Dallas. It will be enforced by code enforcement and employers violating the rules could face fines of up to $500 per day.

Each year in Texas there are reports of a handful of workers dying because of the heat. But, some on the council and in the building industry questioned the measure.

They said these kinds of proposals are best handled by the federal agency OSHA, to avoid confusion. They argued more heat safety education would have been a better solution.

Austin is the only city in the state that has this kind of ordinance. A Dallas city task force considered a similar one last year, but it never came to a vote before the full council.

The new requirement will take effect January 1 with active enforcement starting in April 2016.

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