Outdoor workers have to cope with extreme heat best they can
by Matt Shinall
Jul 05, 2012 | 1531 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A roofer with Caliber Construction works on a roof in Lookout Mountain, Tenn., on a job completed last weekend while temperatures reached record highs.
SPECIAL
A roofer with Caliber Construction works on a roof in Lookout Mountain, Tenn., on a job completed last weekend while temperatures reached record highs. SPECIAL
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Those who work outdoors don't have the luxury of calling in sick due to extreme heat. Crews working manual labor in record high temperatures are taking measures to beat the heat.

Last week saw record highs for much of metro Atlanta, but forecasters call for near-triple digit heat to return Friday and Saturday with heat indexes again breaking 100 degrees.

When the weather heats up, Jason Stanfield and his crews at Caliber Construction know to take extra precautions. Caliber Construction, based out of Adairsville, offers a wide range of services, but specializes in roofing where heat can reach dangerous levels.

"It's about 130 to 140 degrees on the roof when it's 100 degrees outside. We did a job Friday in Calhoun and it took us two or three hours longer to do it because after lunch we brought the guys down and let them rest in the shade," Stanfield said. "You get a little adjusted to it, but I don't think you ever get used to it -- especially when it's above 100 degrees, you're on a roof and there's no shade whatsoever."

With three projects in motion last weekend, Stanfield and his crews took measures to ensure their safety. Staying hydrated, working in the shade whenever possible and taking breaks as needed were all part of the job as temperatures topped 100 degrees.

Local governments are also use to dealing with the heat with garbage and utility crews working year-round, rain or shine.

"Our supervisors are coached to watch and keep a close eye out for anyone getting in trouble with the heat," said Cartersville Public Works Director Bobby Elliott. "Once the temps get in the upper 90s we make a point to talk about it because our guys work in the hot all the time, but when it gets up that high and as high as it's gone the last couple of days we strongly encourage them, 'if you need an extra break -- take one.'

"We expect a day's work, but we understand. ... They've worked here long enough to know that they have to dial it up one more notch and protect themselves."