WEATHER

UDOT workers trying to beat the heat while keeping up schedule

Jul 13, 2023, 3:00 PM

UDOT wants to remind Utah drivers to be aware and careful when near work zones, especially with maj...

FILE: UDOT crews fill potholes on 9400 South in Sandy Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s hard enough to beat the heat without having to wear long pants, boots and hard hats on the boiling asphalt. But, the Utah Department of Transportation is taking steps to make sure their workers are healthy during this heat wave and throughout the summer.

“These people that are out there doing such great work, they’re tough folks,” said UDOT Spokesperson John Gleason.

UDOT’s been busy this spring and summer between what seems like an endless number of potholes, its normal projects and now, several instances of roads buckling.

When it comes to staying cool on the job, Gleason said it starts with workers communicating when something feels off.

“There’s no, absolutely no shame in if you’re feeling tired, if you’re feeling dehydrated. You’ve got to let people know,” Gleason said.

Gleason also said because workers are so tough, it sometimes takes a little convincing for them to speak up when they don’t feel right.

Workers also get more water breaks in the summer, and many project locations have trailers or project headquarters where workers can cool off.

And when temperatures get dangerously high, Gleason said they have the flexibility to move their work days to earlier in the day, so they don’t work out in peak heat.

Temperatures in Salt Lake City could hit 104 degrees and St. George could see highs upwards of 114 degrees this Sunday. And while there’s still a lot of work to do, Gleason said no matter what, worker safety is priority number one.

“The safety of our workers, that is the most important,” Gleason said.

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UDOT workers trying to beat the heat while keeping up schedule