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Construction crews continue to work through the heat

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 19:29:35-04

TWIN FALLS — Another day of brutal heat in Idaho is forcing many people to stay inside and keep cool, but many construction crews do not have that option.

A large number of construction crews tend to be outside for 10 to 12 hours a day building houses and paving streets with the only chance of cooling down is having cold water or sitting in the shade.

Construction workers already face the possibility of getting injured on the job due to how physically demanding it can be. Now that the heat is another factor, crews need to be conscious of other potential risks.

“There are several safety risks that are posed there," said Tyson Carpenter, the City Engineer for Jerome. "Primarily heat exhaustion, heatstroke, which is pretty serious, and dehydration.”

Since there are those outlying risks, cities across southern Idaho and their departments are taking measures to try and keep those workers as safe as possible.

"Our supervisors, our Street Superintendent, our Water Superintendent as well as our Public Works Directors, they’ve advised all the supervisors and staff to be aware of those symptoms, said Joshua Palmer, the Public Information Coordinator for Twin Falls. "They will pull people off of those front lines if they need to re-hydrate them and have them rest and get them cooled off.”

Having to carry heavy equipment and wear protective clothing like long sleeves and jeans, some crews may be taking a higher number of breaks to cool down.

While an increased number of breaks sounds like it could have an impact on scheduling and getting a project done, for both Twin Falls and Jerome, officials are not expecting any delays.

“Living in southern Idaho, we know the weather is unpredictable right," said Palmer. "So, we have frequent weather delays whether it be high heat temps or just other adverse weather conditions. We try to factor that in and so what we’re seeing really more of now are projects just being done on schedule.”

To remain as efficient as possible, some crews are having to alter their daily tasks.

“Things are still staying on schedule," said Carpenter. "They typically will adjust their daily schedule a little bit and either start work earlier or shift around and perform activities earlier in the morning.”

Since crews will continue to work throughout the heat, residents are being encouraged to be mindful and respectful of these workers. The City of Twin Falls has already received several complaints of crews taking breaks and not working.

“What we would ask is for them to be understanding," said Palmer. "That the temperatures out there are serious, especially later in the day. So, we’re going to take our worker's safety as seriously as we can.”