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Ohio road workers, contractors will keep at it despite climbing temperatures

Traffic cones on road with electronic arrow pointing to the right to divert traffic and white car in distance
Frank Armstrong
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; weakness or tiredness; cool, pale, clammy skin; headache; and fainting.

Road work continues even though the temperature is expected to approach the 100-degree mark this week. Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller says unless the heat sticks around for an extended period of time, crews keep working.

"The key is just making sure that the crews know what they can do to protect themselves," Fuller says. "But also to make sure that if they have any symptoms that they let somebody know what their symptoms are and they step back from the operation and get any kind of first aid or medical assistance that they might need."

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Fuller says ODOT workers and contractors get briefings at the beginning of every work session and are reminded about the signs of heat-related health problems. She says crews are also provided plenty of water, and when possible, access to air conditioning and shade.

There's not a lot of shade along the highway, and there's often hot asphalt and heavy equipment with big engines. All of that combined with heat and humidity can make it one of the tougher jobs.

"Obviously we want to try to keep everybody healthy, keep everybody safe, the best that we can," she says.

Fuller says supervisors, crew leaders, and managers will check on workers regularly.

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"If we have someone — any individual, anybody who’s not feeling well — we encourage them to take that necessary break, make sure they're getting plenty of water, and to try to reduce their body temperature."

Fuller says they try to provide workers with access to air-conditioning, and start work earlier when possible.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.