Winter weather—such as frigid temperatures, icy conditions and snowfall—can create a wide range of challenges at the construction site. Specifically, it can become more difficult to ensure employees’ safety in such weather.
After all, working on icy surfaces can increase the likelihood of slips and trips taking place, while exposure to cold temperatures can lead to serious complications, such as hypothermia or frostbite. With this in mind, it’s important to implement these precautions throughout the winter season to keep your staff as safe as possible:
- Watch the weather. Keep an eye on the forecast to determine whether conditions are safe for work and prepare the job site accordingly. If possible, try to limit or break up employees’ time spent outdoors if conditions are significantly cold, wet or windy.
- Keep surfaces safe. Be sure to take steps to preserve job site surfaces in the winter elements. This might entail routinely de-icing or shoveling all working surfaces (including scaffolds and roofs), as well as clearing them of any other hazards. If any surfaces can’t be cleared, mark them with warning signage.
- Encourage employees to bundle up. As temperatures drop, instruct your staff to dress appropriately to keep warm while working. However, make sure employees continue to wear all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Warm clothing is not a substitute or replacement for PPE.
- Provide a warm break area. Have staff take periodic breaks at a warm location, such as a heated trailer, tent or indoor area. However, if you are using heaters on-site, ensure adequate measures are in place to prevent fire hazards and carbon monoxide exposure.
- Monitor employees. Learn the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If any employees display these symptoms, take them to a warm location and seek medical attention immediately.
For more industry-specific guidance, contact us today.
Source – Zywave, Inc.