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Treasure Coast workers labor through sweltering heat

'It's getting hotter and hotter by the day, and let me tell you it folds us sometimes,' Adolfo Izeta with Anthony's Tree Company says
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 06, 2023

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The high temperatures occurring from Palm Beach County to the Treasure Coast pose a danger for many of the people who have to work through it.

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor show an average of 38 workers die every year from the heat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those in the most danger are firefighters, factory workers, agriculture, mining and construction employees.

The WPTV First Alert Weather team said temperatures could feel as hot as 113 degrees in Fort Pierce on Thursday. While many sought comfort in the air conditioning, Anthony Gizze with Gizze Construction, along with his team, worked through it.

"It's extremely hot," Gizze said while showing WPTV his job site. "It's probably 100, maybe 110 [degrees] in here."

Anthony Gizze and his contracting team are building a home in Fort Pierce while dealing with the heat.
Anthony Gizze and his contracting team are building a home in Fort Pierce while dealing with the heat.

As he wiped beads of sweat off his brow, he showed off the bottles of water on hand for his crews, along with the ways he tries to keep cool. The home he's remodeling does not have air conditioning yet.

"Yeah, no air conditioning. We don't put the air conditioning on until basically everything is done," Gizze said. "[We have] a nice big industrial fan. We had that outside the other day while we worked concrete."

It's tough to work through, but Gizze shrugged it off. After all, the job must go on.

"No work no pay," Gizze said. "It's really a mental thing, it's not that hot if you're staying busy."

How can you protect yourself and kids from the extreme heat?

Scripps News

How can you protect yourself and kids from the extreme heat?

Lindsey Theis
7:32 PM, Jul 05, 2023

It's not just tough to work through. Gizze said it alters the way they work. Crews have to take more breaks, work around peak heat hours, and adjust the way they pour concrete and other materials.

"You really gotta push in the morning when it's not as hot," Gizze said.

Adolfo Izeta with Anthony's Tree Company knows the struggle all too well.

"It's getting hotter and hotter by the day," Izeta said, "and let me tell you, it folds us sometimes."

He said the heat cut their workday short, complicating the job and pushing more work onto the next day.

Adolfo Izeta discusses how the heat impacts him and his fellow workers.
Adolfo Izeta discusses how the heat impacts him and his fellow workers.

"Usually we're out here till 6,7 o'clock at night," Izeta, who wrapped up work around 3:30 p.m., said.

Gizze and his crew, on the other hand, pushed through. Many of his job sites have a deadline, so instead of quitting, they relied on the fans, water and determination to get them through.

"We keep a cooler over there with water," Gizze said. "It's a mental game, and if the money's good, you should be able to push through and make the money for your family."

According to the CDC, it's best to avoid heavy work on days like this, but if you're one of the many who have no choice, here are some ways to protect yourself:

  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers for signs or symptoms of heat illnesses
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton. Avoid non-breathable synthetic clothing
  • Gradually build up to heavy work
  • Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day
  • Take more breaks when doing heavier work, and in high heat and humidity
  • Take breaks in the shade or a cool area
  • Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty
  • Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat-related illnesses