Road crews share experience battling excessive heat

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Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 5:51 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - During the heat that we’ve been seeing in the Tri-State, some of the people who are most-affected are blue collar workers.

Anybody who works out on the street, in a factory or any other labor-intensive environment knows that the temperature can be exponentially higher in certain work environments.

Road crews spend hours together every day, sweating and working in the heat.

In the case of Mid-America employee Kane Vincent, the shifts run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so it’s easy to grow pretty close with your co-workers. That’s why they rely so heavily on what he calls, the “buddy system”.

“Definitely break each other out man. If you gotta call one of the other crews that’s around, ‘hey, you guys had your breaks, do you have an extra hand? My guy needs a break I can’t really work this workzone with just one guy.’ So, you gotta,” says Vincent, “it’s a team effort man. It takes a whole lot of us to keep it all going.”

That’s a sentiment shared by the Indiana Department of Transportation Public Relations Director Gary Brian, who says even though it’s the same song and dance every time, they can’t reiterate enough just how important it is to make sure that you are sweating the small stuff.

“Making sure you’re hydrated, make sure you’re taking breaks,” says Brian, “and you know the other thing as well is making sure that they understand what it looks like when somebody is having a heat stroke or getting too stressed out.”

Brian also says that it’s important to remember that while it is hot outside, many of the road crew workers have been doing this for a long time, and they make sure that everybody is up to speed on how to keep each other safe.

“For a lot of our guys that are out in this every day, I don’t want to say they’re used to this, but they know how this works,” says Brian, “and again, safety being number one, we train everybody up,” says Brian.

Brian and Vincent know that the heat doesn’t just affect them though.

The drivers who are navigating around their work are also being impacted by the heat. Brian says the summer is a huge time for road projects, and Vincent says they’ve got to be cognizant of drivers as well, not just themselves.

“Your head’s got to stay on a swivel. If you’re not watching, they’ll run right through it thinking, ‘hey this is a shortcut,’ you know?” says Vincent, “they’re not worried about powerlines are coming down. They’re not thinking about that, they’re thinking about getting home. It’s hot, I get it.”

Vincent and Brian both say they want to ensure that everybody takes it easy, stays hydrated and makes it home safe at night.

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