Methods told by construction workers

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As summer rolls around, the triple-digit heat is also rising. Most Tucson residents want to stay indoors, but construction workers need to get on with their jobs in the sun.

“In areas where we can, we’ll turn the clock back to 5 a.m., so we start at sunrise,” said Christopher Bagby, director of Markham Contracting.

The Markham contractor works on county roads. During the summer months – they start earlier in the day to beat the heat. This means that road closures also start earlier, particularly between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“If you prepare the day you play catch-up, if you prepare the day before, you’re ahead of the game,” said Alexander Montt, construction manager at Markham Contracting.

But their preparation begins even before 5 a.m.

“Hydrate today for tomorrow,” Bagby said. “Make sure you avoid alcohol, avoid caffeine.”

According to the National Weather Service, excessive heat causes more weather-related deaths in the United States than floods, hurricanes or tornadoes. That’s why Markham’s contracts start each day with a 30-minute discussion of safety protocols in the heat.

“Drink water, take breaks when you need to, and get shade, protect yourself from direct sunlight,” Bagby said.

Markham provides drinks, rims for hard hats and cold towels so their workers can stay cool. Managers also tell workers to wear light-colored clothing and, ironically, long-sleeved shirts.

“Number one: it keeps the sun and sunburn off your skin,” Montt said. “Number two: you trap sweat and it keeps you cool.”

The last important safety protocol is to recognize and avoid heatstroke. Most people suffer from heat stress, but when the symptoms turn into illness or stroke, that’s when you need to take a break or get help.

“We’re doing a good job of being extremely proactive, so it doesn’t get to that point,” Bagby said.

Anyone can use these protocols to prepare for a hot day.



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