DOTD contractors brave the heat, health experts weigh in on safety

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Summer temperatures are soaring in Louisiana, and they’re not to be taken lightly.

DOTD contracted workers alongside Arkansas Rd. braving the heat during summer projects. (SOURCE: KNOE).

KNOE sat down with an advanced practice nurse who explained some warning signs of heat stress and tips on staying safe in the summer heat.

“Stay out of it. Stay out of the heat unless it’s absolutely necessary,” said Missy McNabb, Advanced Practice Nurse - St. Francis Medical Group.

The temperature may only read in the nineties this week, but it feels like it's over a hundred because of the heat index. For those who work with the Department of Transportation and Development, it’s impossible to avoid the heat.

“It’s hot, it’s definitely hot,” said Jeremy DuFour, Risk Management, Gilchrist Construction.

If you’re not careful, you can get sick even experience heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Here are some of the symptoms:

“Feeling your heart race, what we call Tachycardia. If you start sweating profusely, certainly if you get dizzy,” said McNabb.

The symptoms aren’t always physical. It is important to pay attention to the impact heat can have on your mind.

“Mental status, you know if you feel fuzzy, if you know you’re not feeling right, not thinking right, not processing things,” said McNabb.

For DOTD contracted workers, it’s a part of the job, but they’re taking extra steps to stay safe.

“The hotter it gets, the more precautions we take. That’s just the more we have to do for our guys to protect them against the heat,” said DuFour.

Temperatures can be deadly, especially during this time of year.

“It’s something as a department that we take very seriously because we know how dangerous it can be and it’s something we impress upon our employees as well,” said Erin Buchanan, Public Information Officer for La. DOTD.

That means slowing down on work to prevent overheating.

“Our workers are trained to take a frequent break, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and also know the signs of becoming overheated,” said Buchanan.

Although the job must get done, safety and wellness are number one.

“Our guys are our number one priority. Without the guys, we’re not getting anything done. We’ve got to protect them,” said DuFour.