Railroad workers battle record temps in Bainbridge - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Railroad workers battle record temps in Bainbridge


By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) –This blazing summer heat can be dangerous for anyone who's outside for extended periods of time.

How do construction workers who have to work outside handle the soaring temperatures?

We spoke to some railroad and construction crews in Bainbridge to find out.

At noon in Bainbridge, the sun glared straight down on railroad and construction workers.

"It's hot!" welder Larry Hatcher exclaims. "You're soaking wet, getting a little sun on your arms and necks. There just isn't any shade next to the railroad tracks."

"We're trying to keep them safe by giving them water," says Gary Smith, owner of Gary Smith Services, a construction company. "We're going through about twelve cases a day. Plenty of ice, water, take a bunch of breaks. We'll give them a little longer lunch to let everybody cool down."

Crew supervisors say the longer, more frequent breaks means this project's completion date keeps getting moved back. But they say it's worth it to make sure everyone stays safe. But even with all the precautions they take, workers can still suffer from heat exhaustion.

"We try to look out for each other to not go that far with it. But about all of us have had it happen at some time or another," says Hatcher. "But we try to see the warning signs. You know when it's hot out there you ain't supposed to be having cold chills and goose bumps."

Workers are using this large shed as their main break area. They had to bring in these extra fans not only to stay cool, but also to keep away annoying gnats.

"It's not all about the heat. It's the gnats, too. These gnats are bad. They will tote you off," Smith jokes. "I'd rather be working in the cold than in the heat. In the cold you can always add clothes, but in the heat you can't take none off."

And sometimes, the workers even have to put on clothes in the heat.

"It's hot out there now driving those supports with sledgehammers," Hatcher explains, "but when you start welding, you put on long sleeves and there goes every bit of the coolness you used to have."

Which they say wasn't much to begin with.

The temperature reached over 100-degrees Friday in Bainbridge.

That's a new record. And that's the temperature in the shade.

Those guys feel much hotter because they're working in direct sunlight on a hot, reflective surface.

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