• Credit: Dayton Daily News

Record-breaking heat is straining the U.S. power grid this week. It's also making life stressful on construction sites across the nation. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, rainy weather gave way to high temperatures, creating hot and humid conditions on the job site, reported TV station WBTV ("Rock Hill construction company stays cool while battling heat," by Ashton Pellorn). "It's kind of like going from the soup bowl right into the frying pan," Apple Tree Contractors owner Chad Simpson told the station. "When we have people working on a roof, it can be 90 degrees down here, but it's 120 or 130 degrees on a roof," added Simpson.

There was nowhere to hide for ironworker John Culp, reported the Allentown (Pennsylvania) Morning Call ("Little heat wave relief for arena construction workers," by Scott Kraus: Culp and his fellow crew members were sweating it out on the top floor of a new 11-story headquarters building for National Penn Bancshares. "Torch in hand, long sleeves pulled down to protect against sparks, Culp set to welding rooftop anchors that will one day be the only things keeping a window washing crew from plummeting 11 stories down the side of the building," the paper reported. "His only relief: the occasional breeze or a passing cloud." "It's miserable," Culp told the paper. "But we are ironworkers. That's what we do. That's what we got into. That's our racket. If you don't like it, you just don't belong here."

In Utah, an experienced construction supervisor offered some tips for jobsite safety in the heat, reported ABC 4 Utah ("Big-D Construction Crew Shows Us How To Handle the Heat," by Kimberly Nelson). "We visited the Big-D construction site at the University of Utah to see how the men working on the new law school building are handling the heat," the station reported. Big-D Superintendent Dale Pruett told ABC 4 News, "The soil temperatures in the hole the other day were 160 degrees."

Pruett said preparation is key: "You've got to get plenty of fluids in you, get your electrolytes up and get all your vitamins in you before, not the day you need them, but the day before you need them." And Pruett says he keeps an eye on the crew, watching for signs of heat stress or dehydration: "I'm going to look for a guy that looks groggy or he's moving slow or excessively sweating. A lot of guys sweat more than others. If you see a guy who sweats a lot, not sweating, then you know you've got trouble."