Rockingham County Public Works employees get a rare workday inside

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — As freezing cold temperatures affect the Shenandoah Valley with dangerous wind chills, most Rockingham County Public Works employees had a work day inside. The department made the decision to keep as many employees as possible away from the cold.

Hensley said the cold temperatures were dangerous for workers out on their own because if an accident were to happen and the worker became incapacitated, the cold could cause frostbite or even death.

A couple workers spent time on maintenance for a backhoe loader Wednesday afternoon inside a garage. Others worked outside, but were able to stay warm in their vehicles.

Mark Hensley, the public works operations manager, made the call for the workers to stay inside. He said he was concerned over the cold temperatures possibly being hazardous for his crews.

With even colder weather on the way on Thursday, Hensley said safety is key.

"They're used to us being always mindful of safety. And they weren't surprised, they appreciate it," Hensley said. "They certainly appreciate it," he continued with a laugh, acknowledging how thankful the workers were to not be outside.

Hensley said the department will sometimes keep its workers inside throughout the year because of weather, but it is rare for the reason to be cold temperatures. He estimated it only happens maybe once a year, if that often.

Brutal wind chills of below zero will be widespread Thursday morning. You can check the latest forecast from WHSV's First Alert Storm Team at https://www.whsv.com/weather.