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Pima County Supervisors pass heat-safety plan with 4-1 vote

Supervisors are working to better protect and reassure employees who work outside that their safety is top of mind as triple-digits fast approach
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Posted at 5:55 PM, May 21, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Board of Supervisors discussed its heat-preparedness plan at today’s meeting. Supervisors are working to better protect and reassure employees who work outside that their safety is top of mind as triple-digits fast approach.

Pima County supervisors passed an action item on extreme heat with a 4 - 1 vote. Actions for the County include development of a public information campaign and a plan for enforcing mandates to protect workers. Supervisor Steve Christy voted against the item.

WATCH THE FULL BOARD DISCUSSION:

Pima County BOS agenda item 21 Part 1
Pima County BOS agenda item 21 Part 2

Last year, Pima County faced a total of 176 heat-related injuries or deaths.

Supervisor Dr. Matt Heinz says emergency rooms are at or over capacity across the state and in Pima County. That could lead to individuals with heat-related injuries waiting for hours on end for a bed.

“The time is now for us to act to protect our workers who toll in this increasing heat from all of the effects of this heat-related illness," Supervisor Grijalva said. "We need specific plans for protecting those who must work outdoors, or in our buildings or in our buildings, or enclosures lacking adequate cooling. It is not onerous and it’s the right thing to do.”

Some of what Supervisor Grijalva is directing Pima County Administration to do is:

  • Develop requirements for County Departments to implement by June 3, 2024, for protecting employees from heat-related health issues as delineated in the March 26, 2024, City of Phoenix Heat Ordinance applying to external contractors.
  • Immediately develop and carry out a public campaign to inform all local businesses what is the county doing to protect its employees from extreme heat and encourage them to undertake similar measures.
  • Develop and implement a plan for County enforcement of internal and external mandates for protecting workers from extreme heat.
  • Develop language for inclusion in all future contracts that would require their adoption of Heat Plans to protect workers from extreme heat, working with the Departments of Health, Procurement, and Risk Management.

Supervisor Grijalva says a heat- safety plan will be discussed with the above modifications by their next meeting on Tuesday, June 4.

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Jacqueline Aguilar is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born and raised in Yuma, AZ., she is no stranger to the unforgiving Arizona heat. Now this U of A wildcat is excited to be back in Tucson and is looking forward to involving herself in the community. Share your story ideas with Jacqueline by emailing jacqueline.aguilar@kgun9.com or connecting on Facebook, Instagram or X.