Air conditioner repairmen reflect on Phoenix death

The dangers of repair work in the summer

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The death of a Phoenix air conditioning repairman who was working in stifling heat in an Avondale attic, has raised awareness of the dangers of the job.

Jason Carnes, the safety supervisor for Cummings Plumbing in Tucson said “safety is number one when it comes to this because it’s extremely dangerous.”

Dozens of workers, according to U.S. Labor statistics, die in heat related accidents every year.

The fact that a worker died in the attic in a Phoenix home is tragic but not a surprise.

“Extreme heat in the attic is the biggest hazard we have to deal with right now,” he said.

His workers are cautioned against drinking coffee or energy drinks before work. They should hydrate the night before going to work and he urges an ounce of water for every pound of body weight during the day.

Carnes showed KOLD News 13 how hot it gets by climbing into an attic at a northwest side home.

Withing 10 minutes the thermometer read 123 degrees. Sweat poured off his shaved head and dripped from his nose.

“This is our job,” he said. “This is what we have to do up here everyday in the middle of the summer."

When asked about the death in Phoenix Carnes said he didn’t know much about it except it was a topic of conversation among his workers and those in the company.

He called a meeting of all his employees to remind them of the dangers.

“We sat down and talked about it, reflecting on what happened,” Carnes said. “And to make sure it doesn’t happen to one of us.”

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