Fresno construction crews bearing brunt of record-breaking heat

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Everyone's feeling the heat. But for construction crews, the triple-digit heat is their office. (KFSN)

An excessive heat warning is in effect through Thursday evening as we reach record-breaking temperatures.

Some constructions crews wrap up around 3:30 p.m., which is before the city hits the highest temperature of the day. But Action News was out at 10 a.m., and they were already breaking a sweat.

Workers were trying to keep cool in triple-digit temperatures at the construction site in Downtown Fresno. Laborers are working toward repaving a parking lot, and they'll be at the site until September - through the hottest months of the year.

"Well, it's not fun," worker Brantley Pierce said.

To prevent overheating his body, one worker says he puts water on a rag around his neck to keep it cool.

"I got this rag and take a break every 30 minutes," Pierce said. "Go sit under some shade for about 10 minutes and then get back to it."

The construction company owner was on site overseeing the project and making sure his workers have what they need to be out in these conditions.

"We just make sure they have plenty to drink, they have to keep hydrated," owner Jack Pierce explained. "We make sure they have shade. Anyone who gets too tired, we take them to the shade."

Cal/OSHA protects workers from health and safety hazards and says their three goals for workers are water, rest, and shade. Once temperatures reach 95 degrees or higher, they say employers of outside workers must follow high heat procedures.

"Shade has to be provided when temperatures reach 80 degrees or above, water must be free, cool, portable and readily accessible to all workers," Paola Laverde with Cal/OSHA said.

By law, every four hours every worker must be allowed a 10-minute break in hot conditions and agriculture workers are given a 10-minute break every two hours.

But any worker in hot temperatures can request to take a cool down break in the shade for at least five minutes, and can't be rushed back to work.

At a home construction site, an insulation installer said he drinks lots of water to stay cool and makes sure to go in what they call 'cool zones,' which is usually the garage of a house but says he'll go anywhere with shade.

"Summer is usually the busiest and hottest time, so it's rough but you just gotta push through," Lynn Ayala said.

Cal/OSHA says employers and coworkers need to watch out for each other and to be aware of heat illness symptoms which can include fainting spells or disorientation.
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