Heat inspections aren't just for outdoor workers, agency director says

By Chad Snow
Published: Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - 5:23pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2023 - 5:24pm

Workers install solar panels
Lorne Matalon/KJZZ
Workers install solar panels on a new building.

As record-setting temperatures continue, Arizona launched a new workplace inspection program this week, to help ensure that employers are protecting workers from the heat.

The inspections are being conducted by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Director Jessie Atencio says they’ll be checking to see that workers get breaks, and have access to water and shade.

"Our inspectors will be looking to ensure that the employer has some way of providing those basic functions to the employee, " Atencio says.

While outdoor jobs are a concern, Atencio says indoor sites – like warehouses and restaurants – could also pose serious risks.

"Warehouses can be an issue, when it comes to that limited air movement. If an AC goes out, or employees are working around hot equipment, that can also amplify the actual heat in a workplace, " he says.

Atencio says it’s imperative for supervisors to recognize the symptoms of heat stress and remove workers who may be in danger.

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