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Utah workers take precautions, stay hydrated during heatwave

Posted at 8:40 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 00:38:01-04

LOGAN, Utah — Even with record-breaking heat, the projects go on for people who work outside.

We visited two of the hottest jobs where workers get it done no matter the temperature: asphalt paving and roofing.

The crew from Top Job Asphalt moves like a well-oiled machine, as they operate well-oiled machines. This is their busy season.

The asphalt leaves the plant at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and the paver at 280.

“We did an airport a couple of years ago where if it hit 250 degrees, we had to throw it away,” paving foreman Michael Greening said.

Things can be a little cooler for this residential driveway.

Just before 11 a.m., the air temperature thermometer above the pavement measured 108°F. The surface temperature: 213°.

“We’re kind of accustomed to it, even though you never really get used to the heat,” Greening said.

They deal with it by keeping the water going around.

And the health department agrees that this is crucial.

"We want to try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and fruit juices — just because of the sugar content in it," said Emily Jewkes, a health educator with the Bear River Health Department. "We want to stick to water or sports drinks with electrolytes in it."

Heladio Flores covers up as he manages a roofing job. He says his guys are used to the heat.

"No problem for the Mexican guys," Flores joked.

They take a break from noon to 4 p.m.

The health department agrees with the roofers' decision — but not the runner who passed by.

"We want to just avoid exercising in the heat of the day," Jewkes advised.

The asphalt crew can’t fit a break into their 12-hour days, however, but instead they take individual breaks.

"[We] watch which guy’s struggling the most, try to take the tool away from him," Greening said.

Again, the health department agrees.

"Looking out for each other, making sure you’re hydrated, taking breaks with the hottest job, definitely will help," Jewkes said.

You can get more info on your local health department’s website... or just watch your local pros.