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Frigid weather makes it tough for people working outside

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 21 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 23 2013 12:15:55 PM CST

The cold weather made a tough job even more difficult for people working outside.

The job must get done, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Many people who have to brave the elements say the key is layers and take plenty of breaks to stay warm.

Some of the crews we spoke with say they stay outside 20 minutes and then try to get warm. The key for some companies is to have extra people on the job.

You're freezing when the power goes out. How about freezing when workers are trying to keep the lights on?

"We discuss it with the guys about the dangers of working in the cold weather," said Steve Piech, T & D foremen for PPL electric utilities.

Those dangers? Possible frostbite, hypothermia and believe it or not-- dehydration.

"We'll work for an amount of time and they'll switch guys out," said Piech. "We'll out extra guys on a crew for a day so they can intermittently switch out."

Workers say the person who will get coldest the fastest is the one who is up in the air.

"Obviously the wind chill factor is something that comes into play," added Piech.

Because PPL crews are working with electrical currents, the lineman are wearing rubber gloves. However the rest of the clothes are warm and fire retardant.

"Every employee at PPL that works up in the electrified area needs to make sure that they wear proper FR material," said Piech.

Everyone working outside says layers are the key: hooded sweatshirts, coats and for some ear warmers.

"It's a difficult job that we do, but we do it all for our customers," added Piech.

Layers are definitely the key outside. Workers expect it to be even colder Wednesday.