PHOENIX ‒ Construction and maintenance crews working on Arizona’s highways are taking every precaution to beat the heat with temperatures soaring this week.
Having received training on managing the dangers of extreme heat, these workers stay hydrated, have sun protection, monitor themselves and co-workers for signs of heat stress, take regular breaks and schedule work to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
While all Arizonans need to prepare for intense heat, it’s especially important for the many ADOT personnel and contractors’ employees working outside every day, from the crews maintaining state highways to those building the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway in Phoenix. One reason: Asphalt and concrete get far hotter than the air temperature.
For the South Mountain Freeway project, crews with Connect 202 Partners, the developer responsible for building the 22-mile-long freeway, are taking breaks in designated cool-down areas including shade tents, awnings and air-conditioned vehicles.
More than 1,500 South Mountain Freeway workers have completed a mandatory heat-stress training class, and there have been no reported heat-related illnesses since major construction started last year. That training includes arranging for immediate medical attention if someone appears to be succumbing to the effects of heat.
Connect 202 Partners provides shaded areas and cold bottled water supplemented with electrolyte powder. Certified emergency medical technicians can conduct medical monitoring such as checking blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and temperature.
These strategies used by ADOT can help everyone deal with extreme heat:
- If possible, start work earlier in the day and finish before the hottest hours of the afternoon.
- Use a buddy system to watch for early signs of heat illness.
- Stay hydrated with cool water.
- Have sun protection including a hat, a light-colored and long-sleeved shirt, and sunscreen.
- If you lack experience working in the heat, acclimate over several days by taking extra time to rest and stay hydrated.
In addition, ADOT has tips for traveling in extreme heat at azdot.gov/extreme-heat.
For more information on the South Mountain Freeway, visit SouthMountainFreeway.com.
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