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7.19.22 – KWCH -WICHITA, Kan.

With dangerous heat expected over the next several days with highs in the triple digits, Kansas businesses are altering schedules to keep their workers safe. Among workers most vulnerable to the elements are roofers. Monday, Eyewitness News spoke with Eaton Roofing and Exteriors in Wichita to see how one local business is trying to keep its workers safe while getting jobs done.

Alberto Gray has been roofing for 14 years at Eaton Roofing and Exteriors. For workers like him, getting jobs done in extreme weather is nothing new.

“We work all the temperatures, cold and hot,” Gray said.

Sometimes, however, he said it’s just not possible to work normal hours without there being a health risk. Eaton Roofing and Exteriors Co-owner Jack Burks said he’s been preparing for this week.

“[Tuesday] is gonna be exceeding 200 degrees on the roof surface temperature in the hottest part of the day, so it’s not a whole lot of fun sometimes,” Burks said.

To help workers avoid that kind of heat, Burks said they’re starting at 6 a.m., an hour earlier and about 10 degrees cooler than usual. The roofers shut down at 1 p.m. and pick back up about 5 p.m., avoiding the hottest part of the day, only to work until dark.

Burks said he hopes his customers understand.

“Most homeowners don’t want us on the property at 5:30 in the morning, which I can get that, but usually we’re gonna try to move it up to 6 a.m. start, just to help out,” he said. “Conditions are a lot better at 6 a.m. than they are at 3 in the afternoon.”

While avoiding the hottest part of the day, Burks also touched on how crucial it is for the workers to stay hydrated.

“We keep plenty of fluids, whether it be water, Gatorade, whatever, maybe ice (it) down,” Burks said. “We want cold drinks to keep everybody in the shape of, they’re not gonna be dropping on us due to the heat exhaustion.”