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New tools help workers in the heat

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Working outside poses a challenge on a day when a heat advisory will be in effect during the afternoon.

That's why those who must be outdoors started early in the morning, trying to get their jobs completed now.

Construction crews near Colbern Road and I-470 are using new tools to counter the dangers posed by extreme conditions.

On highway jobs like this one, not only do workers have to worry about speeding traffic right next to them, but high heat and humidity can lead to heat exhaustion before you recognize the symptoms.

That's why the Missouri Department of Transportation gives out specially formulated hydration freeze pops to crews on days that are very hot.

The refreshment is sugar free, low calorie and provides electrolytes that help cool a body and lift spirits.

"Already this morning, right now it’s 110 degrees on the black pavement," said Eric Ramsey, MoDOT district safety manager. "By this afternoon it will be 120 to 150 degrees on the pavement. You add to that the machinery and the equipment being used and the tasks being done, it’s really a hot job for MoDOT workers."

Technology plays a role in monitoring extreme conditions. MoDOT supervisors carry a heat gun, that shoots a laser beam down to the pavement and tells them just how hot the surface is where they're working.

Rigorous tasks are scheduled as early as 6 a.m., when your body can better handle sweating. And workers keep an eye on each other. When someone stops sweating in stifling conditions it's usually a warning sign of a heat injury.