Phoenix Contractors and Subcontractors Must Develop a Heat Safety Plan

The Phoenix City Council has recently approved Ordinance G-7241 in response to a stark increase in heat-related illnesses and deaths, with a record of 395 fatalities in 2023. The ordinance requires every city contractor and subcontractor to develop a heat safety plan to shield outdoor workers from the harsh Arizona climate, which in 2023 included 133 days of temperatures reaching 100 degrees or higher, and a record 55 days above 109 degrees. These safety plans must ensure provisions for water, rest, shade or air conditioning, gradual acclimatization to the heat, and training to recognize signs of heat stress. This initiative is part of a broader effort under Phoenix’s Heat Response Plan and works with Arizona’s State Emphasis Program to promote workplace safety during the hottest months.

Contractors and subcontractors need to have a heat safety plan that is easy to understand and accessible, and it must include:

  1. Free, clean drinking water available at easy-to-reach spots for everyone working there.
  2. Scheduled breaks for rest and extra time for drinking water as needed.
  3. Cool, shaded places or areas with air conditioning where workers can take a break.
  4. Vehicles with enclosed spaces must have working air conditioning by May 1, 2025.
  5. Steps to help workers get used to the heat gradually.
  6. Training programs on heat safety that everyone can understand and attend.

If contractors don’t meet the ordinance’s requirements, they will receive a warning and a chance to fix the issue. However, continued failure to comply could lead to more severe consequences, such as having their city contracts canceled, terminated, or suspended. Additionally, the contractor or any subcontractors involved could be barred from future city contracts. It’s also important for contractors to make sure that their subcontractors are following the ordinance.