Heat wave impacts construction workers across the Ozarks

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 3:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As temperatures rise across the Ozarks, experts say construction workers are at the highest risk for heat-related illnesses.

Workers at RR Residential Remodel and Construction say working in the summer heat can be brutal. They say one of the best ways to get the job done is by getting an early start.

“Typically, we don’t come in till about 8:30 (a.m.),” said owner Robin Haller. “But, sometimes we have to come in at 6:30 (a.m.) just so we can get a couple of extra hours in.”

Haller says the heat can be really tough on their bodies during long work days. By mid-afternoon, staff energy gets low.

”We start having a lot more breaks, water breaks obviously, a lot of time we will go get ice cream to cool guys down.”

Co-owner Ryan Haller says it’s important to monitor the symptoms of the other workers. The staff looks out for the most common symptoms of heat-related illnesses like being light-headed, getting really sweaty, and headaches.

”If I got a guy that looks like or feels like he’s about to pass out or something, I’ll go start the truck, turn on the AC, cool off a little bit, drink some water,” said Haller.

Haller says the food he eats before a long summer shift can make a difference. He says keeping your potassium levels up is helpful.

”Eat a banana or pickles. They help with cramping and make sure you’re hydrated.”

Staff says they’re grateful when certain projects allow them to be indoors for a portion of their day. On Wednesday, the RR construction team is working on a bathroom remodel. However, jobs like this won’t be the case all summer.

”Throughout the summer, we will be doing room additions and framing outside,” Haller said. “So always make sure that five-gallon cooler is full of water and ice.”

Haller also reminds his employees to wear loose-fitting, breathable clothes during work. Some workers say they prefer a long-sleeved shirt and a hat in the heat.

”Just make sure you’re comfortable, nothing too tight, and a bandanna around your head can also help with sweat and cool you off.”

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