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.
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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.
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Worker safety is critical to running a successful construction operation. Beyond regulatory compliance, your workers are a critical component of each project completion. Their skills, morale, and well-being play a major role in the quality and efficiency of your final product.
Construction Safety – The Basics
While safety in construction covers a range of topics, there are a few essential areas to consider. Your baseline for employee and worker safety is the regulations and safety guidelines lined out by OSHA and all other regulatory agencies. This is a minimum, however, and does not guarantee maximum safety for your workers. To achieve maximum safety, it will take a little more research and preparation. Get started with the following quick guide:
1) Tool Maintenance
Incidents with tools are a common source of worker injuries. Worn and broken tools eventually fail, causing serious and sometimes fatal injury. Implement and maintain a tool maintenance schedule which includes regular inspections. That way, you will find problematic tools as early on as possible. Repair or replace all worn and broken tools immediately.
2) Heavy Equipment
Getting on and off heavy equipment is another common source of worker injury. Make sure your workers are wearing proper footwear and gloves with high grip when using heavy equipment. Train them to check their boots and gloves before climbing and to clean off the mud. Look for the largest size holds for both hands and feet. If needed, use a step ladder. Don’t carry anything while climbing.
3) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Make sure all your workers have and use all appropriate personal protective equipment. Back braces for lifting heavy objects, protective eyewear, gloves, appropriate footwear, and safety harnesses are all essential to keep on hand for each worker according to the jobs and tasks they perform.
4) Safe Loading and Unloading
Loading and unloading heavy equipment and other items is another common cause of serious worker injury. Injuries from equipment rolling over and improper lifting techniques occur frequently. Use straight ramps cleared off all objects and debris. Always leave sufficient space between the equipment and all workers in case of emergency. Train your workers in proper loading and unloading procedures to lessen the chance for serious injury.
5) Construction in Water
Construction in water presents many opportunities for danger and injury. Ensure all your workers are equipped with proper tools, safety gear, and hazard training. Consider using an inflatable bladder dam as your dewatering solution to maximize safety and efficiency.
Construction safety is essential for numerous reasons. At the end of the day, you are required by law to meet all regulatory safety requirements. Beyond that, however, when your workers feel safe, morale is higher, productivity is increased, and overall output is generally of higher quality. Safety must remain priority #1 Give your workers the best chance of success by providing, the safest, most productive environment possible.
To learn more about the use of inflatable bladder dams to increase worker safety and productivity, Contact Us.