State investigating heat illnesses at northwest side McDonald's restaurant

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The McDonald's restaurant in Marana where 11 employees were treated for heat-related illness is now under state investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health says ADOSH is looking into the Sunday incident.

Meanwhile the three workers who were taken to the hospital were, reportedly, doing much better on Monday.

Northwest Fire and Rescue District says all three were sent home from the hospital Sunday night, hours after paramedics were called to the McDonald's on Cortaro Road and Interstate 10.

An air conditioning unit in the kitchen had broken.

A McDonald's spokesman says the air conditioners were back up and running by Sunday night.

However, it was anything but business as usual about a 12:45 Sunday afternoon when Northwest Fire was called to the McDonald's.

Northwest Fire spokesman Adam Goldberg says one worker was semi-conscious.

A total of 11 workers were treated.

Captain Goldberg says he was told there had been issues with a kitchen air conditioner all week.

Things totally failed Sunday.

On a day when the temperature would reach 105 degrees, the temperature in the kitchen was 96 when firefighters measured it.

The owners of the McDonald's franchise sent us this statement:

"The safety and well-being of our crew and customers is extremely important. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that both our employees and customers are safe. We have taken actions to remedy the situation. We have made the necessary repairs to ensure that our employees and customers are working and enjoying their meals in a comfortable, safe environment."

As the desert continues to heat up, we're reminded heat warnings are not only for hikers and golfers and others who enjoy outdoor activities.

This time of year, Goldberg says we really have to pay attention to our daily lives, and sometimes change the way we do things.

That's especially true for those who work outdoors.

"More water. More breaks. If your breaks are 15 minutes, talk to your supervisors and maybe it'll be 20 minutes to stay inside, keep cool. Cool towels on your head and on your neck. Try to keep your body as cool as possible. But most importantly, stay hydrated. Drink. Drink. Drink," says Northwest Fire's Goldberg.

How do we know we're drinking enough?

It's not just about being thirsty.

Goldberg says if you're drinking enough, you'll know it.

"You'll find that your energy level stays up. You'll find that you won't have that headaches at the end of the day. Your muscles won't be aching at the end of the day because when you're thirsty and your body is just tired and you've run out of energy and everything sort of hurts that's dehydration to a T," Goldberg says.

Though it's tempting to buy a cold soda when you're thirsty, Captain Goldberg says we need to remember that caffeinated drinks can help dehydrate us.

See the ADOSH brochure on employee rights and responsibilities here.

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