Vicente Garcia cleans leeks in 90-degree heat at Muranaka Farms in Moorpark, California, on June 17, 2021. (Jacob Margolis/LAist)

A collaboration between Public Health Watch, Columbia Journalism Investigations, NPR and public radio stations in Texas and California has won a prestigious award from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

The series, published last summer, examined rising heat-related deaths among workers of color, a phenomenon experts attribute to climate change and lack of federal regulation. IRE announced Wednesday that the project shared top honors in the Audio (Large) Category with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

IRE judges called the heat project an “outstanding collaboration and compilation of stories uncovering the dangers workers face outside in the heat from just doing their job. The team does a superb job of explaining the multiple levels of failures. From OSHA and its soft penalties and lack of inspection, to the companies that hire these men and women, and ultimately the federal government which could set the standard with a law. In fact, establishing that there’s no regulatory standard for heat in the workplace was revelatory! Furthermore, with a warming planet and climate change, this is an issue workers will continue to face, which makes such an investigation even more critical.”

The full list of IRE winners can be found here. The awards will be presented at the IRE national conference in Denver in June.

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