Judge declares Texas law that would ban construction workers’ water breaks unconstitutional

By Neil Gerrard06 September 2023

A construction worker takes a drink from a plastic water bottle on a hot day. OSHA is seeking submissions for a new campaign aimed at combatting heat-related work problems. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

A judge in Texas, USA, has ruled a new law that would effectively ban water breaks for construction workers by eroding cities’ power to enact local rules as unconstitutional.

The state law, signed by governor Greg Abbott earlier this summer, aims to stop cities and counties from putting their own local ordinances in place.

It would affect mandatory water breaks that have been implemented in certain cities like Austin and Dallas.

The planned law, which was due to come into force on 1 September, has proved controversial during a summer of record-breaking heat.

The City of Houston filed a suit against the state in relation to the law earlier this summer.

State District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble last week ruled that the law unconstitutional.

The law, which its supporters say will cut down on the variation of rules across the state, is still expected to go into effect.

But the new ruling gives cities ammunition to counter any lawsuit against their local ordinances challenged under the new state law.

The state of Texas has appealed the ruling.

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