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Roofers and other outdoor workers battle the heat, as health officials voice concerns

Roofers and other outdoor workers feel the heat like nobody else, which is prompting some local doctors to speak out.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Blistering heat is causing local doctors to be concerned about roofers and other outdoor workers.

Dr. Anthony Guarracino from UPMC said that heat illness and exhaustion can creep up on people unknowingly.

“You're outside, you feel good, you're doing your normal activities and you don’t realize it's hotter or more humid than usual, " said Dr. Guarracino. "Your sweat isn’t evaporating and so, therefore, you're more likely to suffer from heat-related illness.”

And while working on a roof, Kevin O'Connell, owner and vice president of operations at Joyland Roofing, said temperatures can be even worse.

“The temperatures on a ninety-degree day are going to be up to 160, 170, or 180 degrees on that roof," said O'Connell. "A lighter roof will probably be between 110 to 115 degrees.”

Even so, these roofers have to work, but not without taking the proper precautions.

O'Connell said that every Monday in the summer, he teaches his staff about ways to stay safe in the heat and to be aware of heat exhaustion and heat illnesses.

“They know what the signs are, what to look for in themselves, and also what to look for in each other and keep an eye on the other guy,” said O'Connell. 

The most important thing for O'Connell is to keep his staff hydrated. 

“We have an ice chest full of drinks, we stay on that thing pretty consistently,” said Jason Martin, a repair technician for Joyland Roofing.

Besides hydration, O'Connell makes sure to not keep his team in the sweltering heat too long. 

"The team is encouraged to start earlier in the day when it's cooler and to quit earlier in the afternoon, so we're not working till five or six o'clock like we usually are."

The key point to staying safe in the heat? Be smart. 

“Mentally, if you're prepared for it, it's not too bad,” said Martin. 

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