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City of Phoenix Enacts Heat Ordinance

At their meeting on March 26th, the Phoenix City Council approved Ordinance G-7241, a new law that addresses contractor requirements for the mitigation of heat related illness and injury in the workplace. With summer on the way, the City Council has made it clear that they believe that the dangers of working in the heat are a serious public health concern, and this new law is one step they are taking to address this concern.

The new law will take effect on April 25, 2024 and will apply to all contractors working on City of Phoenix contract, lease or license. Examples would include city public works projects or construction or renovation of city buildings or property. The law further clarifies that it applies to all employees and contract workers who work in an outdoor environment. The ordinance includes definitions of many of the terms used and can be downloaded and read here:

Ordinance G-7241 Signed
Download PDF • 560KB

Another key requirement that contractors should be aware of is the requirement for required contract language. This reads as follows:

The following clause is required to appear in all contracts between the City and the Contractor and contracts between the Contractor and its Subcontractors, Sublicensees, and Sublessees:
"Any contractor whose employees and contract workers perform work in and outdoor environment under this contract must keep on filed a written heat safety plan. The city may request a copy of this plan and documentation of all heat safety and mitigation efforts currently implemented to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries in the workplace. The plan must also be posted where it is accessible to employees. At a minimum, the heat safety and mitigation plan and documentation required under these provisions shall include each of the following as it relates to the heat safety and mitigation:
  1. Availability of sanitized cool drinking water free of charge at locations that are accessible to all employees and contract workers.

  2. Ability to take regular and necessary breaks as needed and additional breaks for hydration.

  3. Access to shaded areas and/or air conditioning.

  4. Access to air conditioning in vehicles with enclosed cabs. All such vehicles must contain functioning air conditioning by no later than May 1, 2025.

  5. Effective acclimatization practices to promote the physiological adaptions of employees or contract workers newly assigned or reassigned to work in an outside environment.

  6. Conduct training and make it available and understandable to all employees and contract workers on heat illness and injury that focuses on the environmental and personal risk factors, prevention, how to recognize and report signs and symptoms of heat illness and injury, how to administer appropriate first aid measures and how to report heat illness and injury to emergency medical personnel.

Additional language makes it clear that this all applies to anyone hired to perform work, whether they are considered an employee or an independent contractor.

Both ADOSH and Federal OSHA previously announced heat injury and illness emphasis programs that will be looking for many of the same things as this new ordinance, but the ordinance makes it clear that if you are working on a City of Phoenix contract, it all has to be in writing, and everyone on the job, including all labor classified as independent contractors, must receive training in recognizing and mitigating the hazards of heat related injuries and illnesses. With summer approaching, other jurisdictions (including the City of Tucson) are discussing similar policies.

The potential for serious injuries and even death is real for construction workers doing work in the heat we will experience this summer. We cannot control the heat, but we can plan ahead to take specific and deliberate steps to mitigate the risks to our workers. For contractors needing assistance in putting together a plan, there are resources available, including the ADOSH Consultation and Training Division, and the OSHA Heat Hazards web site.

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