Phoenix Ordinance Adds Rules to Protect Workers from Extreme Heat

April 2, 2024

With hundreds of heat related deaths in and around Phoenix, Arizona last year, a new city ordinance has taken a “critical first step” to protect workers for city contractors from the dangers of extreme heat. That was the praise from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health.

“People who work outside and in hot indoor environments in Phoenix suffer unacceptably during our deadly summers, with too few protections,” said Katelyn Parady, a Phoenix-based worker health and safety expert with National COSH, who assisted local workers and unions in advocating for new protections from extreme heat.

Phoenix experienced a record-breaking 31 straight days with temperatures in excess of 110 degrees in 2023. The Maricopa County Health Department reported 340 heat-related deaths in the city in 2023, among 645 fatalities countywide. Three out of four heat-related deaths occurred outdoors.

The new ordinance was passed unanimously today by the Phoenix City Council after a citywide campaign including labor and community organizations. It will apply to outdoor workers for city contractors and their subcontractors who provide construction, engineering, airport and other services to the city.

Contractors and subcontractors will be required to provide:

  • Easy access to rest, shade and potable water for workers in outdoor environments;
  • Access to air conditioning in vehicles with enclosed cabs – a major win for airport service workers;
  • Training for outdoor workers on how to recognize and prevent heat injury and illness.

Contractors are also required to create and keep on file a heat safety plan.

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