Hot Conditions for Workers

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) - Genetic counselor, art therapist, animal defense lawyer, they're among the top ten hot jobs for 2007.

Those are hot jobs, figuratively, but we're talking about hot jobs, literally.

Jobs, where men and women are punching the clock for eight hours a day under the hot sun.

Volunteer TV’s Jessa Goddard has more on how these workers get the job done, when most of us have a hard time just walking from the car to the front door.

For many of us, our job requires us to sit in front of a computer all day, that can be tiring, mentally. But imagine if making ends meet, means performing physical labor in this extreme heat?

SmartFix40, it's an accelerated construction process to speed up the construction and repair of Interstate 40. Emphasis on speed.

More than 300 workers are currently working on this stretch between Cherry Street and Hall of Fame Drive and they won't let the heat slow them down.

"Making sure we're keeping everyone hydrated, so we didn't have any problems. Taking extra breaks through the day, so they're not in the heat as much for long periods of time,” says John Long, Superintendent of Bell & Associates.

These hot, dry days are ideal for construction projects, but not necessarily for construction workers.

"I guess we're just used to it, but it's a lot harder on us, with the weather like it is right now, but being out in it day in day out does help,” Long says.

Internal medicine Doctor Michael Green says there's a reason these construction workers tolerate the heat so well. "For folks that work outside regularly, in some ways their body kind of acclimates, they get used to being outside, but obviously they're just as prone to losing fluids as anyone else."

And no one is immune in such extreme heat.

The heat index tells us it feels like it's 100 degrees, but for these contractors working on the SmartFix40 project, the pavement is at about 112.

That's why Bell and Associates called their workers to a safety meeting on Monday.

"Informing their employees of what can happen to you on a 100 degree day and making sure they have ice and water and they take more regular breaks,” TDOT Spokesman Travis Brickey says.

Staying on the job, so you can get back on the road.

Depending on the phase of the construction project, TDOT says sometimes it will adjust the work day, for example, starting at five in the morning instead of eight in order to avoid some of the late afternoon sun, which is still going strong right now.


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