Outdoor workers battle heat
Roofers try to stay cool in high temps
LA CROSSE, Wis. — With temperatures this high, staying cool is on the top of many people’s priority lists, but that can be a lot harder if being on the job means being out in the sun.
Ledegar Roofing workers were taking extra precautions to stay safe Thursday, before they were able to get back to some air-conditioning.
“Shingles and rubber, everything’s going to get hotter from the sun,” project manager James Haggerty said. “It’s a lot hotter up there than it is here right now.”
“I’ve been doing this for about 21 years, so I’m not used to it,” crew foreman Jason Risberg said. “It still gets hot.”
Despite the heat, Risberg said the roof must still go on.
“It’s the fatigue on the body, where you’re so worn out,” he said. “You still have to get your job done, but it gets to be a push to work through it and still keep your mental abilities and physical abilities, without falling off.”
“These guys are motivated. They want to work,” Haggerty said. “Everyone wants to have a paycheck, and in order to do that we have to work through these conditions.”
Haggerty said on days like this, workers need to be extra careful.
“The foreman’s always looking out for his guys making sure people aren’t looking pale, (or) like they’re about to faint or looking tired,” he said. “It’s important we stick together as a group, and everyone’s looking out for each other.”
“Just try to stay hydrated, take a few extra breaks, get a little time in the shade,” Risberg said. “That’s about all you really can do.”
It’s not just the workers that get hot, but also the materials.
“We’ve got to wear gloves,” Haggerty said.
The workers had a slightly shorter day Thursday, and Haggerty said on very hot days, they try to spread out the work by doing five days with shorter shifts as opposed to four 10-hour days.
“Today we just had to tear off some of the shingles, get our underlayment in place,” Risberg said. “We have the metal valleys that are going in. After we get those in, we’ll call it a day.”
Then it’s back again in the morning.
“It’s going to be hot again tomorrow, too,” Risberg said.
But not before a break from the sun.
“I am just going to sit in the air conditioning, probably pick my daughter up early from day care,” Risberg said. “We’ll just enjoy the rest of the day indoors.”