With the approach of the winter season, weather conditions are changing. The drop in temperatures present a number of dangers for construction crews, and it’s important to be prepared if a winter storm were to head your way. Prepare your worksite and hard-working crew with these winter construction safety tips.
While OSHA doesn’t have a list of guidelines for workers to follow in cold environments, there are important hazards construction workers should avoid during winter weather. With freezing temperatures and changing weather forecasts, don’t forget to prepare your site and take care of your workers on an ongoing basis.
Construction in Cold Weather
Are you aware of the health risks when working in cold weather? It’s important to encourage your workers to wear warm clothing and to take frequent breaks for workers to stay warm. In the unfortunate situation where winter construction safety isn’t practiced, a member of your team could risk hypothermia, frostbite or in worst cases, death. Learn how to avoid frostbite with these recommendations.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to remind your workers of your winter preparedness plan before a severe weather storm. It’s crucial to keep everyone informed to ensure protection for your whole business.
Importance of Dewatering Your Site
If your construction site is near a body of water, you must remove all of the water before starting a project. A dry site in the winter is necessary for easy installation and safe working conditions. From minimizing slip and falls to avoiding soil erosion, your project will have more success without water. Learn more about the construction applications of site dewatering from our water control experts.
The Possibility of Winter Flooding
No matter where you’re working, there is always a threat for flooding. In the winter, heavy rainstorms and strong wind can cause water to buildup and melt into low areas. Without proper water control, melting lakes or rivers can increase the risk of flooding. Get your construction site prepared with these five winter flooding tips.
Stay Safe in Winter Weather
Are you ready to face the freezing temperatures this winter season? From equipment handling to worker health, construction sites face a number of hazardous elements in the cold weather. This season, don’t wait to start practicing the appropriate safety measures to protect you and your workers.
Do you know the warning signs of frostbite or hypothermia? Completing construction projects in cold weather can present a number of health concerns for your crew. Make sure your construction site is prepared to handle the cold temperatures this season.
Because of skin numbness, most people won’t realize they’re suffering from frostbite unless someone were to point it out. For construction workers, this can be very dangerous. As the manager of your company, how are you planning to help your team avoid frostbite? This winter, it should be your top priority to keep your workers warm and safe on your job site.
Make Training a Priority
The first step to avoiding frostbite or any injury is through proper training. From identifying what clothes to wear to knowing how to recognize a problem, colder weather presents a number of new concerns. Even the healthiest workers can suffer from frostbite or hypothermia; preparing your whole team to watch out for warning signs will protect you from further harm. Hire a professional or enroll your team in a class to teach them the health-related risks.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Out of all of the ways to protect yourself from cold weather, the right construction gear is the most beneficial. Make sure your team has the right clothing to protect against freezing winter air and snow. From hard hats with liners to waterproof jackets, your clothing is the first defense against cold weather. Keep your team protected by providing the appropriate uniform for working in cool temperatures.
Provide Dry and Heated Break Areas
The risk of frostbite and hypothermia is heightened in areas that contain moisture or dampness. Between bridge-building and pipeline construction, the majority of worksites have water in or surrounding them. Protect your workers by allowing regular breaks and providing warm, dry areas to rest. With a portable heater and inflatable cofferdam, you can easily turn your job site into a suitable place for anyone to work.
Pro Tip: Dewatering is the process of removing water from a construction site for better application in construction sites. Invest in a water-barrier for your job site to keep surrounding water under control.
The Importance of Winter Construction Safety
From freezing equipment to slippery work conditions, construction in cold weather can put your workers at risk for trench foot, frostbite, or hypothermia. Without the proper safety measures, your project won’t be completed in time and your workers will get injured. This winter, prepare your job site for the various weather elements that occur.
Whether you work at a construction site or high-rise office building, the winter season brings a myriad of potential issues. No matter what the weather elements are, your business should be prepared to withstand any kind of emergency during the winter months. This season, don’t neglect to make winter preparedness a priority for the safety of you and all of your employees.
As the weather forecasts start to predict cooler temperatures, the chance of snow and ice storms are increasing. Between the safety of your employees and the condition of your work environment, it’s important to know how to prepare for winter weather. Pay attention to these 7 winter preparedness tips for your business this season.
Sign up for weather alerts
Learn the severity of weather conditions
Backup computers and secure important documents
Create an emergency supply kit
Perform regular exterior maintenance
Make a communication plan for family members
Consider temporarily shutting down
1) Sign up for weather alerts
It’s important to confirm that your cell phone is charged and able to receive weather alerts. In the event of a power outage or internet crash, your cell phone will likely be your main source of information. Whether it’s a weather app or email notification, pay attention to incoming weather, especially in the winter.
2) Learn the severity of weather conditions
If there’s a chance of severe weather near your workplace, it’s important to understand what the weather forecasts are predicting. In the case of a weather watch, the conditions are favorable and should be monitored. In comparison, a tornado severe thunderstorm, or ice storm warning indicates that a storm has already developed and is headed your way. In the winter, the severity of any thunderstorm is heightened due to freezing temperatures, hailstorms, and strong winds.
3) Backup computers and secure important documents
As you begin to prepare your business for the winter, don’t forget about your important data! In the case of a system crash, your files should be backed up on a separate hard drive. In the same way, your paper documents should be kept in a waterproof safe to guard against water leaks.
4) Create an emergency supply kit
An emergency supply kit should always be readily available to your employees. Don’t forget to include first aid equipment and an outside power generator to your supplies, especially for cooler temperatures. As a business owner, you should make sure your emergency kit includes a backup heating element for your employees. Body heat might keep everyone warm temporarily but it’s important to watch for against signs of frostbite in the winter, especially during a severe storm.
Pro Tip: Your emergency kit should also include a water barrier and shelter for your employees. Unfortunately, flooding and freezing temperatures could be a potentially deadly combination.
5) Perform regular exterior maintenance
No matter what the season, there should be a standard maintenance plan for the outside of your business. From caulking and weather-stripping your roof to protect your water pipes from freezing, it’s important to stay ahead of the freezing temperatures. If flooding or snowfall is predicted, we recommend installing a metal flood barrier for your doorway.
6) Make a communication plan for family members
Whether it’s an emergency situation or severe storm threat, your organization should have a communication plan prepared. If a family member is unable to make contact with one of your team members, consider sending text alerts or social media posts to keep them informed.
7) Consider temporarily shutting down
At the end of the day, your employees are your priority. If severe winter weather is predicted, let your team have the day off until conditions improve. In a matter of minutes, the weather could change and threaten their ability to drive home. Be sure to pay attention to weather forecasts and make changes to your work schedule if necessary.
Keeping Your Worksite Safe
The importance of getting your business or construction site prepared for extreme weather, especially in the winter, can’t be stressed enough. If you’re the owner or manager of your business, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your office or worksite is safe for your employees. If a winter storm were to unexpectedly head your way, will your business be ready?
How is your business getting prepared for winter? Share with us on social media!