Coast road workers feeling the heat

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's 8 o'clock in the morning, and it's already hot.  Workers are building a new intersection along Highway 90.  Cars pass by, and you can feel the heat from the exhaust pipes.  That just adds to the misery offered up by the sun.

Andy Silcox monitors the progress being made on a new median.  There are other jobs he'd rather be doing, but he also knows this one is special, despite the heat.

"The heat index up to 116.  Very hot," Silcox said.  "It takes a different breed of people to get out here and do what we do every day in this hot, humid weather.

On a blazing hot day, with the heat index reaching the triple figures, safety is the number one concern for the workers. Jim Elmore is one of those workers.

"We have a daily safety meeting where that is enforced strictly. And we try and watch out for each other and make sure everyone gets home safe at the end of the day."

The water cooler is the most popular tool at the worksite, and it gets plenty of use throughout the day.  The six workers on the crew drink every drop of water in two, five gallon containers every day.

And officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation are on hand to make sure it stays that way.  Eric Jackson works for MDOT.  "Well basically, just make sure that everyone is staying hydrated, and not working too hard out here, taking it easy and take breaks as they need them."

More work needs to be done before the morning is over, but not before a few more gulps of water. On a day like this one, a bottle of water is really man's best friend.

Officials with MDOT say safety training is held on a weekly basis, with crews learning how to spot the sings of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

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