Consecutive cold days taking a toll on outside jobs

By Kelly McCarthy

January 24, 2014 Updated Jan 24, 2014 at 7:28 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Temperatures are on track to make this month the coldest January in the triple cities on record. Wednesday, Jan. 22 was the coldest day on record reaching -11 degrees overnight.

For many highway maintenance workers, the cold weather forces their day at work to be less efficient.

"Basically the people are not used to, the last six or seven years we haven't had this real extreme period of two week, three weeks of cold weather," said Town of Binghamton Highway Supervisor Mike Donahue.

There have been more days below zero this month than the Binghamton area usually gets in a year. Putting workers who still have to be outside at risk.

"I have concerns over our people being out there in the extreme cold temperatures," said Department of Transportation Health and Safety Representative Dan Wilber, "To make sure they are not suffering from frostbite or hypothermia."

The cold adds more stress to the employees, as well the equipment they use.

"Pretty much we go into our maintenance mode," Donahue, "We do repairs on our truck when it's this cold out."

Maintenance crews hold more safety meetings and work in teams to fight off the freezing temperatures. Workers said it's a good time to take advantage of the tasks that needs to be done inside.

"It's an opportunity to take care of things that maybe wouldn't normally be taken care," Wilber said, "Of but if it's a pothole that needs to be fixed it's not going to wait for warmer weather."