June 13, 2024

ADOSH Continues to Promote Heat Illness Safety

In an effort to emphasize the need for heightened awareness and monitoring, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) launched its State Emphasis Program (SEP) in July 2023 to combat heat-related illnesses and injuries in the workplace.  

As temperatures begin to rise dramatically across the state in the coming weeks, employers are reminded that safety and health inspectors will focus on the following key elements during inspections where heat-related injuries or illnesses could occur:  

  1. Water: Employers must provide an adequate supply of cool, potable drinking water to workers throughout the workday. Water breaks are promoted, and workers are educated on proper hydration.
  2. Rest: Employers must allow employees to take breaks in shaded areas to cool down. Rest and recuperation are encouraged when needed.
  3. Shade: Providing shaded areas for rest is crucial in reducing heat-related risks. Employers need to ensure effective protection from direct sunlight during rest periods. 
  4. Written Plans: Employers must create plans to reduce heat-related risks, including water availability, rest breaks, shade, acclimatization, and training to recognize heat stress symptoms. 

Although Arizona does not have a formal heat illness prevention standard, it does use its version of federal OSHA’s General Duty Clause which requires employers to provide employment free of hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm. Employers are reminded that as part of the SEP initiative, ADOSH will continue its targeted inspections and outreach efforts across various industries, including agriculture, to promote safety and protect workers from heat exposure.