November 23, 2016
Construction Work During Winter
By Jonathan Damashek
Winter can bring extremely cold temperatures, high winds, ice and snow. Days are shorter, and visibility is usually reduced. All of which can make some types of construction work, like grading and road paving, impossible, and others, like pile driving, steel erection and building construction, far more difficult.
For construction employees who continue to work during the cold weather, we share several safety tips posted by Border States. These tips can help workers safely avoid accidents and illnesses caused by the low temperatures and other climate challenges.
- Limit outside work when wind and snow are blowing and temperatures are exceptionally low. Schedule outside work in shorter durations. Break up larger projects into smaller tasks and take a break when needed.
- Plan the work according to the weather forecasts. Employers should be aware of a coming blizzard or other dangerous climate conditions. Make sure that interior work is done during these days. Save external construction tasks for days when the weather allows it and it’s safe to do so.
- Find a warm break area. Outside work is essential for construction, but workers need a warm place to take a break from the cold.
- Avoid caffeine. To many, coffee is essential to begin their day, but beverages with caffeine can increase workers’ heart rates and make them feel falsely warm. Always encourage workers to drink water.
- Make sure you have necessary equipment. Clothing for severe weather, including boots, heavy coats, gloves and hats, should be provided by employers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Shoes should have nonslip soles to prevent falling.
- Check work sites on a daily basis. Before work begins, supervisors should review the area to ensure no new hazards (like snow or ice accumulation) have formed while workers were away.
- Remove snow and ice to avoid slip and fall accidents. Employers should ensure snow is removed, salt or sand is put down and large patches of ice are chipped away to prevent accidents.
- Learn the signs of frostbite and hypothermia so that if anyone shows these signs, they can receive immediate medical attention.
As always, construction workers’ safety is our priority. If you or a loved one experiences an accident in a work site, contact us today for a free consultation. We will fight for your rights and the highest-possible compensation.