July 31, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
77°F

Outside workers toil in torrid temps to do jobs

By Dani Orr and Vincent D. Scebbi

With temperatures in the 90s this week, some jobs became too hot to handle.

Hinckley Roofing employee Nick Walkuski said warm weather can make handling shingles tricky and in some cases they can begin to melt.

As the temperature rose into the 90s Thursday, Medina County Highway Department workers pave a portion of Neff Road in Liverpool Township. From left are machine operator Gary Emmons, Quintin Channell, Mike McCall and Bobby Neal. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

As the temperature rose into the 90s Thursday, Medina County Highway Department workers pave a portion of Neff Road in Liverpool Township. From left are machine operator Gary Emmons, Quintin Channell, Mike McCall and Bobby Neal. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

To keep the shingles cool, Walkuski said, roofers will spray them with water from a garden hose.

“It’s too hot, and it slows everything down,” Walkuski said Thursday while working at a house on Center Road in Hinckley Township. “What you do in one day takes two or three days.”

In Medina on Thursday, a city crew of three braved the heat at Spring Grove Cemetery while installing an electric line near the west entrance.

James Hjort and Tom Milewski only had two words to describe their day: “It’s hot.”

City employees Tyler Patterson and Danny Rymer said they had the easy job of the day. They were traveling around Public Square in a golf cart watering flowers.

Medina Service Director Nino Piccoli said city employees were taking it a little bit easier Thursday.

“We have a foreman going from site to site keeping an eye on our employees today,” he said. “Making sure they’re fully hydrated is a very big thing, and making sure they get into the shade from time to time is also important. We’re also saving some of the more strenuous work for when it cools down just slightly, and we canceled a job on Wednesday of pouring concrete.

“You have to make adjustments when it’s this unbelievably hot out … for the safety of our workers, it has to be done,” Piccoli added. “We make sure everybody has cold water at all times, and when a job is wrapped up, we’re allowing the guys to head home a little early. … We’re just not doing anything really big this week, and sticking to the basic work — which is still strenuous and extremely hot. But, hey, it’s got to be done.”

Piccoli also said crews are beginning their day at 7 a.m.

“Starting off at 7 a.m. is usually a big help, but on a day like today, it was 87 degrees out at that time. That’s not typical and not helpful at all,” Piccoli said.

North of Medina, college student Rachel Hunger was controlling traffic on Neff Road in Liverpool Township, where Medina County Highway Department employees were applying asphalt.

“Yeah, it’s ridiculously hot out, but it’s a good job and it pays well. I can handle it for a summer,” she said.

Highway Engineer Mike Salay said a foreman was with each crew Thursday monitoring their water intake and making sure no employees suffered from heat exhaustion.

“It’s a hard job, and normally we wouldn’t allow more breaks or time to sit in shade, but when it’s hot like it is out there right now, we have to allow that,” Salay said. “We won’t stretch out a day like these past two. Instead it would be more of a ‘get out there, get the job done, and get out of here’ kind of day. Our employees look out for each other, and all we can hope for is some relief sometime soon.”

Despite the heat, Tim Stewart of Greenkeepers Lawn Service and Landscaping said: “We still have to get out there and do the work. It’s got to get done.”

Stewart said he starts earlier and works as quickly as he can.

“Later in the day you get tired and tend to slow down a little, but you just work as fast and hard as you can,” he said.

Stewart said on hotter days, property owners often offer landscaping crews cold drinks like water and Gatorade to help them stay hydrated.

Temperatures in the 90s are in the forecast today and Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Normal temperatures for this time of year average in the low to mid-80s.

Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or dorr@medina-gazette.com. Contact Vincent D. Scebbi at (330) 721-4050 or vincents@medina-gazette.com.