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How outdoor workers in Arkansas stay safe in the heat

Summer is here, and it's been in full swing. Most of us have been looking for ways to avoid being out in the sun. Some people cannot because they work outdoors.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Summer has officially begun, although we've felt the summer heat for quite a while now. Most of us have looked for ways to stay safe from the heat by staying indoors, or finding other ways to keep cool. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury. Especially those people who have to work outdoors. 

While they aren't able to just escape the dangerous heat by heading inside, those who have jobs that require them to be outdoors, have various ways of making sure that they stay safe, all while still being able to get the job done.

"It's tough on the guys and it takes some acclamation of their body to get used to the heat," Joel Johnson, CEO and president of P.I. Roofing.

He said that his employees are typically out in the elements, repairing roofs for hours at at time.

"In an attic, I've seen it to where it's 140 degrees [and] up on the roof, I've seen it as high as 130 degrees," Johnson described.

He said that there's a three step system to make sure his workers are prepared for those unbearable temperatures.

"Hydration, shade and rest," Johnson said.

Asides from making sure they are hydrated by drinking plenty of water, he has told his guys to make sure to wear the appropriate gear when out on a roof. 

"The big floppy hates keep the shade off the top [of] your head and some vents [and] long sleeves are the best," Johnson said.

His workers aren't the only ones that have worked against the rays of the sun.

"You work on that blacktop [and] that pavement for hours and hours and hours, it's pretty miserable," Dave Parker, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Transportation said.

While it isn't possible to stop the work because of the extreme heat, Parker said they've shifted hours so that the crews start their day a a lot earlier.

ARDOT workers start their day at 6:00 a.m. and end their shift at 2:30 p.m.

"At least those first few hours, when they do have to be outdoors [and] cutting grass, repairing potholes out there, it's less humid," Parker said.

He also said ARDOT has focused on making sure that employees out in the elements take more breaks and that they are not overwhelmed with work.

"Without out employees, we are nothing and so the safety during these times is critical," Parker added.

If you have found yourself in a situation where you have to work outdoors in the summer heat, always remember to stay well hydrated and look out for any signs of possible heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 


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