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'Make sure your health is first': Outdoor work, a challenge in extreme heat

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 18:24:08-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Chris Hall and his partner are usually pretty efficient, and on a day like today, that works to their advantage. The heat index crossed 100 degrees before noon. That’s around the time they were installing their final downspout.

“Biggest challenge is keeping the sweat out of your eyes,” Hall said during a break from installing a home gutter system.

Hall, who works for Bone Dry Roofing of Lexington, said a gutter job is a little easier in this heat than roofing work.

“It’s probably 10-20 degrees hotter on the roof with the shingles and everything. With the gutters we jump back-n-forth from the roof to the grass, so we can stay cooler,” he said.

Hall said his employer insists that they put their health first, which in part, means taking frequent water breaks while finding a spot in the shade. He also said the office staff can and will manipulate the schedule a bit to help when a heat wave is in the forecast.

“He tries to make sure we’re not out here until 7 or 8 o’clock every night on these hot days, so we handle these smaller houses,” when it’s extremely hot, he explained.

The City of Lexington opened a couple of cooling stations for anyone who needs a break from the heat. They can be found at Tates Creek Golf Course, which is available from dawn to dusk, and the Dunbar Community Center from 8 am to 8 pm.

“It’s really a health issue when it gets this hot,” said Michael Johnson, the Deputy Director for Lexington’s Parks and Recreation. “You have to be careful on days like today,” he continued.

Days like Tuesday are predicted to follow on Wednesday and Thursday before a break comes over the weekend.

“I have had some moments where I was working too hard and realized I didn’t have enough water,” Hall said of previous bouts with heat exhaustion. He knows the signs, and of greater significance, he knows how to avoid them.

“Plenty of cold water in the cooler. And if you feel like you can’t proceed, then take a break,” he said.