Outdoor workers combat winter weather - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Outdoor workers combat winter weather

MOSINEE (WAOW) - This is not pleasant weather to go to work in.

"Your hands get cold and it's hard to work with gloves on," said Greg Burger, lead mechanic at Central Wisconsin Airport.

Mechanics at CWA spend much of their time outdoors. The complaints seem reasonable, but everyone understands it's part of the job.

"They know what they signed up for," said James Olson, the airport's director of operations and maintenance.

Even if weather is bad enough for flights to be canceled, the runway must remain clear for emergencies. Employees at Central Wisconsin Airport are experts at keeping warm. They regularly wear stocking caps, coveralls, boots, hats and gloves. 

Equally important to warm clothing is drinking enough water. Burger says it can get hot and dry in the cab of a plow truck. He says they have to be careful because they come in seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Supervisors at the airport say they try to keep their employees out of the cold as much as possible.

"We try to plan inside work when it's a little colder out, and then we plan jobs outside on the runways during the summer months when we can get out there and accomplish that," Olson said.

 It goes a step further in the construction industry. Subzero temperatures can be enough for a day off.

"It's really more of the wind chill that we watch because that's really where it affects our employees," said Michael Murphy, VP of Northern Operations at Miron Construction.

In fact, this winter has seen a few outside projects shut down altogether.

Murphy says the long winter is a big reason to watch his workers closely and make sure they stay safe in the cold that just won't quit.

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