Central Illinois heat impacts inside, outside workers

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — We’re all used to Central Illinois summers. One day it’s breezy with overcast skies, then it’s miserable. No matter the summer weather, those who work outdoors do what they can to beat the heat.

“Those guys running the shovels, running the pavers…they’re getting the brunt of the heat,” said Dan Wissel, the owner of Dan Wissel Trucking. “275 degrees on top of everything, so they get wore out.”

Thursday in Peoria, workers with Tazewell County Asphalt are digging trenches in the parking lot of the Operators Hall.

“Drinking plenty of water, trying to stay cool and alot leads up to the night before,” said Wissel. “Just get the fluids in ya, be ready and you don’t really get used to it. It’s miserable out there.”

Roofers in the River City are busy installing shingles and reparing rooftops, despite temperatures feeling like the triple digits.

“You try to hit it hard early and because when it gets hot, you slow down.,” said Thomas Whittles, a repair technician with River City Roofing. “So you try to do what you can early before it does get hot that way you can just do your job in the afternoon when it is hot but you ain’t got to like…go, go, go.”

Those who work in these conditions know it’s important to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks.

“Keep your water going in and if you stop sweating you better get in the shade and take a break because that’s when you start to have some problems,” said Wissel.

On the flip side of those working in the heat are those working in the cold in the middle of summer.

While it may sound snazzy being able to work in 30 degree weather when it feels like 100 outside, meat cutters at Alwan and Sons in Peoria say they still have to be mindful of the dramatic temperature change.

“You’re touching stuff that’s frozen so your hands are cold,” said Brian Wickert, a meat cutter at Alwan and Sons. “So if I’m not wearing two gloves, you can’t feel your fingertips and stuff like that.”

Local meat cutters may be in sub freezing temperatures, but they still deal with outside temperatures on breaks and before and after shifts.

“I’m wearing like 3-4 shirts today just to get in there and be comfortable,” said Wickert. “It’s pretty cold right away, like the first 20 minutes- half hour of the day are the coldest but once you start moving? No complaints here. It’s all good, but as soon as I step outside, I’m sweating. It’s bad. That’s the only complaint. I like keeping cool. I like the cold weather so I’m used to it.”

The following are hot weather tips provided by Society Insurance:

  1. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids; drink about 16 ounces before starting and 5 to 7 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes.
  2. Avoid dehydrating liquids. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks can hurt more than help.
  3. Wear protective clothing. Lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing helps protect against heat. Change clothing if it gets completely saturated.
  4. Pace yourself. Slow down and work at an even pace. Know your own limits and ability to work safely in heat.
  5. Schedule frequent breaks. Take time for rest periods and water breaks in a shaded or air conditioned area.
  6. Use a damp rag. Wipe your face or put it around your neck.
  7. Avoid getting sunburn. Use sunscreen and wear a hat if working outside.
  8. Be alert to signs of heat-related illness. Know what to look for and check on other workers that might be at high risk.
  9. Avoid direct sun. Find shade or block out the sun if possible.
  10. Eat smaller meals. Eat fruits high in fiber and natural juice. Avoid high protein foods.

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