Don't sweat it; construction crews endure high heat for work

The temperature in Amarillo hit 102 degrees on Monday and while many found ways to cool off or duck out of the heat completely, for others there was no escape.

Devin White, a TxDOT Maintenance Equipment Operator spent the day with his crew out on Interstate 27, ripping up and repairing roads for the traveling public.

"Manual labor of course always makes everything a a little bit hotter," he said. "The equipment puts off a lot of exhaust and heat from the engines and we're right there, especially with the lay down machine."

Construction crews are just some of the few whose jobs force them to be outdoors, enduring the harsh sun and heat. TxDOT, however, makes sure its crews are taking care of their health by briefing them on the dangers out heat before they go out on the job every day.

"We have meetings every morning to talk about making sure we're looking out for each other, looking for sings of dehydration, exhaustion, drinking lots of fluids," White said. "I just think a lot of people don't understand some of the conditions we work under and how hot it gets out here."

While it may feel hot to you outside, construction workers like Devin aren't just worried about the heat coming directly from the sun, they're also worried about just how hot the pavement is getting.

"We've checked with a radar gun and it's been about 130 degrees on some days, 140 degrees" said White. "We're out here walking on it all day, eight to 12 hours a day some day some days in the summer. We wear steel toe boots for protection and you can feel the heat coming through."

White said some crew members drink about a gallon of water per day to help stay hydrated and prevent exhaustion, but some days when the temperature reaches a certain level, TxDOT feels the safest thing to do is call it a day.

"On days when it gets extremely hot we come in early so we can work our hours that we need to get the job done but we try to get out of here some days around one, two o'clock," White added. "Just get an early start where we can get off when it gets over 105 degrees or so."

Of course, it can still be brutal doing manual labor all day even before it reaches 105 degrees. Even then, White said he and his crew just fight through the sun, sweat and heat to get the job done.

"We don't like the heat just as much as anybody else but we have a job to do so we get out here and we make the best of it and get our job completed," he said.