RIVERTON, Idaho — As temperatures track unseasonably warm and the official start to summer almost here, Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) crews are prepared to adjust when they work.
“When we begin to see a heatwave, we have to make an adjustment to our schedule,” said Mackenzie Smith, a resident engineer for UDOT.
During the extremely hot days, crews will either work early in the morning or late at night to try to avoid having crews out in the hottest part of the day. Working in the dark is helpful for heat safety but can pose other risks Smith said.
“We will always have light plants, we will always make sure that the area is secure, but you always have the danger of drunk drivers, people not paying attention, drowsy driving,” Smith said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about three quarters of all occupational deaths that occur in the U.S are from heat exposure. Between 1992 and 2016, heat exposure accounted for almost 300 construction workers dying, the CDC reports.
Heat related illness and exhaustion is a topic at all safety meetings in the warm months, according to John Gleason, Public Information Officer for UDOT.
“We add extra water breaks, we keep water coolers around the work site, and it is just keeping those lines of communication open,” said Gleason.