Workers prepare for frigid temperatures

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Frigid temperatures across the Region 8 viewing area are expected to continue Thursday. The two winter storms of 2010 have delayed construction projects, according to general contractors. When the ground is dry enough, construction crews still have to work in cold weather.

"Today we're working on the inside, doing some flushing of lines inside on this central plant. the weather right now has got everything on the outside of this building shut down because we have dirt work to do and gravel to install to keep going on the outside," said Mike Minton, project supervisor for Tate General Contractors.

Tate General Contractors is heading up several construction projects on the campus of Arkansas State University. Snow and ice covers the site where the new Liberal Arts Center will be located.

"Everything is too wet and muddy or frozen to do that," said Minton.

Minton, who has been in the construction business for more than 40 years, told Region 8 News several employees have had to leave work early because of the cold.

"Over a period of years, after you get around people that have done this a long time, you learn if you're out in it very long, you learn real quick. You have to," said Minton. "If you're out where you can't wear gloves where you're doing some work that you can't wear gloves, your hands will dry out pretty quick. You need to wear a good hard hat that will shield your face from the sun."

Minton said he's learned what to wear and how to wear it. He's also learned what not to wear.

"You have to have a good base layer and a shirt and a good coat and jacket and shoes. A lot of people wear coveralls, if you can move in them, well you can wear those and they work just fine," said Minton. "You can layer up where you can be too layered and you sweat and then if you ever have to stand still, or if the work slows down, then you'll freeze to death."

Minton said the longer a person is in cold weather, the more likely they'll feel colder. He said employees use hand warmers and go inside as often as possible.

"It's best to just have the right amount of layers and be able to move and be flexible but keep a steady pace going to where you can keep a little bit of warmth in you," said Minton. "You don't sweat too much, you know, you don't have to worry about getting too hot, but that's about the only good thing about it."

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