The forecasted heat index is a concern for construction workers this week

By  | 

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- With the heat index expected to reach triple digits by Friday, construction workers are taking every precaution to stay safe.

“You don’t get used to days like this, that’s for sure,” said Andy Bowers, a foreman with Bayland Buildings, Inc. “It’s the humidity that gets you.”

Before Bowers even steps foot on the jobsite, he turns to Action 2 News.

“Always get up in the morning and watch channel two news, Steve beylon and the crew, definitely watch him,” said Bowers.

Bowers isn’t the only one keeping an eye to the sky. Bayland Builders safety director, Tyler Nackers, visits each job site every day to make sure crews are staying safe in the heat.

“All of our employees are trained in first aid and CPR, as well as working in extreme heat, we train them in what to look for, along with staying hydrated,” said Nackers.

Roland Schmidt, a licensed athletic trainer with Bellin Health Sports Medicine, said some of the symptoms of dehydration include “nausea, dizziness, light-headed and fatigue.”

Roland said it’s also important to allow your body to acclimate to the temperatures outside, especially in extreme heat.

“Prepare yourself to be outside,” said Schmidt. “Don’t try to go out in 95 degree heat after sitting in air conditioning for weeks on end, you have to climatize yourself as well.”

It’s something long-time carpenter Derek Rovinski knows all too well.

“You start to get used to it. You know, it starts out a little rough and then you get used to it. Same with winter, at first you’re like, “Oh I’m freezing” but after a while you get used to it and your body adapts,” said Rovinski.

Rovinski said a good work day starts with constant hydration.

“Typically you know you need to keep yourself hydrated and drink water. You don’t want to drink too much water, but you know just drink water,” said Rovinski.

“One of the reasons we don’t want to hydrate with a lot of water all at one time is you actually can have gastrointestinal issues with that and you don’t absorb that hydration and water properly during that short amount of time, you do need extended period to hydrate,” said Schmidt.

Water is typically the best choice, but something with electrolytes can help with hydration as well.

“Hydration boils down to what you are putting in your body,” said Schmidt. “As long as it has water and fluids in it, you are definitely getting hydrated. The ability to process those and process the sugars does slow some of that hydration process, but many electrolytes in those sports drinks do help with hydration."

At the Bayland Buildings jobsite we visited, the team has a cooler filled with bottled water to keep them hydrated.

“We also have tanks on the back of our crew trucks so guys can fill u water throughout the day,” said Nackers.

“I do a two week schedule every week to lay out work for the guys, but when it is hot and warm like this we are flexible enough where they can start earlier if need to or take a few more breaks throughout the day,” said Paul Vanden Heuvel, job site superintendent with Bayland Builders. “We have to try to keep our schedules, but we have to maintain worker safety, so we keep an eye on each other.”

“It’s good to also watch out for all your guys as well. If you see somebody that’s sweating a lot and you can see that they’re working really hard, sometimes you say, “Hey why don’t you take a little water break? I’ll take care of this for you” or something like that,” said Rovinski.

“We tell the guys to not overdo themselves,” said Bowers. “We’re not looking to set a record today with the heat. If you need a break, do it, it’s that hot out. You got do what you do to make it through the day.”
With heat indexes into the triple digits on Friday, Bayland Buildings is already considering giving some employees the day off.

“We have to be smart about it,” said Vanden Heuvel. “With 95 degrees on Friday, we are already considering not working for that day. If you are in direct sun, the heat index is too much and don’t even want to take the chance.”

“We have to look at it job site specifically cause sometimes we are in climate controlled areas,” said Nackers. “Unless they are in air conditioned building or inside somewhere, we typically stop work that day. We leave it up to crews to look at tasks they are doing.”

Read the original version of this article at