SHA says employees take frequent breaks, drink plenty of water when outside.
Most of us are told to limit our time outdoors during this period of intense heat, but it's not an option for people who work outside, including State Highway Administration employees.
"Fortunately, most of the roadwork we do, almost 85% to 90% of the roadwork we do, is at night. It's still 75 or 80-degrees but it's more bearable once the sun goes down," says SHA spokesman Dave Buck.
But, he says, there are a number of employees who are outside during the daylight hours, where there's intense heat and humidity. "Now, with folks that are out there mowing grass, or doing something during the heat of the day, our crews go out with an incredible amount of water," says Buck, who says personnel also dress with light colored, lose fitting clothing to keep out the sun's heat.
He also says SHA crew members watch out for each other, in case they or someone else is affected by a heat-related illness. "Obviously, there's heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and there's worst, heat stroke because the body temperature can go up to 105-degrees, plus it's very dangerous at that point," says Buck. "We try to get someone into the air conditioning of the vehicle or into the shade. Try to make sure they have a glass of water every 15 to 20-minutes and just keep hydrating."
So far this week, says Buck, no State Highway Administration worker has been brought down by heat-related illnesses.
In addition, SHA also examines the roads during this intense heat. Buck says the high temperatures could make the roads buckle, especially if they go from extreme cold in the winter to the extreme heat in the summer. "That fluctuation back in forth between the excessive heat and the excessive cold can put a strain on the pavement," he says. So far, SHA has not seen any of that. "Maintenance crews keep a close eye out for buckling, anything that looks like a bump," he says.