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New Program: Arizona Will Inspect Workplace to Prevent and Reduce Heat-Related Illnesses

With temperatures rising, Arizona workplace safety regulators are taking action to better protect the health, safety, and well-being of employees. According to a report from the Arizona Daily Star, our state will begin unannounced investigations to ensure that employers have proper heat-safety protocols in place for outdoor employees. Here, our Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney highlights the risks of heat-related illnesses, explains the new policy in Arizona, and provides an overview of the steps to take if you or your loved one was hurt on the job. 

Heat Safety is a Huge Concern for Outdoor Workers in Arizona

Arizona is among the hottest U.S. states—especially during the height of the summer. Temperatures well in excess of 100 degrees are relatively common in Phoenix. Heat safety has emerged as a paramount concern for outdoor workers. The scorching desert climate poses significant health risks. Heat can cause severe medical complications—from heat exhaustion to potentially fatal heat strokes. For outdoor workers who labor under the hot sun, maintaining hydration and seeking regular breaks in the shade are not just best practices, they are an essential safety practice. 

Arizona Workplace Safety Regulators Unveil New Heat Safety Inspections

In response to soaring temperatures, the Arizona Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) has initiated a program to ensure the protection of workers from heat-related ailments. The initiative grants our workplace safety inspectors the authority to check that employees have adequate access to essentials while working outdoors during hot weather. Specifically, ADOSH is looking to ensure works have adequate access to: 

  • Water; 
  • Shade; and 
  • Rest. 

Although there is not a specific rule in place defining “adequate,” there are existing laws that mandate workplaces to be devoid of recognized hazards. Notably, heat safety is a well-recognized workplace hazard. Among other things, ADOSH inspectors will look to determine that employers supply sufficient cool, drinkable water and encourage hydration breaks. Employers should also create a health safety place. Inspections can occur without prior notice. 

What to Do If You or Your Loved One Suffered a Heat-Related Illness on the Job

Heat-related illnesses—including all-too-common conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke—are very serious issues. If you or your loved one suffered a serious heat-related illness, it is imperative that you take immediate action. Here are four key steps to take if you developed a heat-related medical impairment in Arizona: 

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: The foremost priority in any heat-related incident is to get medical assistance. Some of the earliest warning symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, excessive sweating, or elevated body temperature, which all indicate a serious health risk. Call emergency services or head straight to a medical facility. The quicker the intervention, the better the outcome. Beware: Untreated heat-related illnesses can escalate rapidly, leading to potential long-term complications or even fatality.
  • Notify Your Employer of the Incident: As soon as it is safe and feasible, be sure to inform your supervisor or the designated person in charge about the incident. It is crucial for them to be aware of such occurrences. Under Arizona’s workers’ compensation laws, injured workers—including those made ill by heat-related issues—must notify their employer in a timely manner. Failure to do so could undermine a workers’ comp claim. 
  • Document What Happened: Memories can blur over time, and in the case of legal or compensation-related issues, having a clear and detailed account of the incident is invaluable. Note down the circumstances leading to the illness, the conditions at the workplace, the actions taken post-incident, and any other relevant details. 
  • File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits: Most employers offer workers’ compensation benefits for injuries and illnesses sustained on the job. Once you have all the necessary documentation, file a claim as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the illness, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, other related expenses and permanent impairments. You do not have to take on the claims process alone. Our Phoenix, AZ workers’ comp lawyers can help you navigate the claims process in a heat-related illness case. 

Speak to a Phoenix, AZ Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today 

At Snow, Carpio and Weekley, PLC, we are a law firm devoted to protecting the rights and interests of injured workers. If you have any questions or concerns about heat-related workplace injuries and illnesses, we are here as a legal resource. Give us a call at (877) 370-5788 or connect with us directly online for your free, no strings attached case review. Our firm represents injured workers in Phoenix, Maricopa County, and throughout all of Arizona.

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