News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
CONTACT: City Communications Office, 816-513-1349
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2011
City takes steps to protect employees from heat
Due to the excessive heat warning beginning today, Friday, July 15, the City of Kansas City, Mo., has taken action to prevent heat-related illnesses from striking its work force and to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. Some City departments are adjusting work schedules for labor employees and making sure workers have access to water, as well as opportunities to cool off with adequate breaks.
The Aviation Department has provided employees with individual water coolers, hydrating liquids, lightweight cotton shirts and wide-brimmed cotton hats. Supervisors and employees try to schedule the most labor-intensive duties during the early morning hours and take adequate breaks. Most enclosed aviation equipment is air-conditioned.
The Parks and Recreation Department adjusted its work hours to reduce the number of hours labor employees work in the hottest part of the day. Most Parks and Recreation Department labor employees work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Exceptions to this include field units that have other needs and operational issues to address. Other adjustments include having crews mow shaded parks and park areas in the hottest part of the day, rather than spending their entire day in direct sunlight and heat. In addition, the department’s work crews have been trained to recognize signs of heat exhaustion and are diligent about filling up their water coolers each morning. Supervisors are emphasizing the importance of drinking enough water each day and are monitoring their crews for heat-related symptoms.
The Public Works Department is maintaining a regular work schedule from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., because materials such as rock, asphalt and concrete are not readily available at other times. However, the department is shifting schedules for pouring concrete so it can cure in the cooler part of the day. The department also is providing air-conditioned truck cabs and other equipment for employees to cool off, and providing water and hydrating liquids throughout the day. The Parking Services Division staff work from air-conditioned vehicles and are advised to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.
Public Works stresses that residents put trash out no later than 7 a.m. on trash day. Extra trucks are placed on the route to collect trash sooner to get workers out of the heat. The department checks on their workers frequently throughout the day and also provides cold bottled water.
The Water Services Department has an extreme weather condition policy that has measures for extreme cold and extreme heat conditions. The hot weather procedure is implemented when the official temperature at KCI Airport reaches 95 degrees or there is a heat index of 105 degrees. Under those conditions, employees may be given a "hot option day." This allows them to perform alternative forms of work not affected by extreme heat conditions. However, public safety, health and other customer needs will not be compromised.
Media inquiries should be directed to Dennis Gagnon, public information officer, at 816-513-2659.