Essential Winter Construction Safety Tips

winter-work-safety

With winter just around the corner, some might be under the impression that construction comes to a halt. This is most certainly not the case! Given modern pressures and the urgency of both small and large construction projects, it’s simply not feasible for contractors to stop work and wait for warmer weather. If you are planning on continuing construction during the colder months, here are some important tips to follow:

 

Wind and cold
The elements can make construction work difficult or even impossible. The best way of keeping the wind and cold temperatures at bay is by investing in quality enclosure systems. These systems are designed to protect your workers and the construction site from these harsh elements, and you can heat the working area to make working conditions that much better. It’s also a good idea to give your workers regular or more frequent breaks as well as shorter outdoor working hours if the conditions are particularly harsh.

 

Watch the weather
Knowing what to expect will help you and your team prepare for the weather systems currently affecting your area. If the conditions are extreme, you might not be able to work outside due to safety concerns. You should either focus your energy on an indoor project or set up other tasks for your workers to perform when the conditions are extremely poor and dangerous.

 

Break area
Construction workers will confirm that it’s always nice to leave the main area of the site and enjoy a break in a designated break area. Make sure that your break area is properly heated. Your workers will not be moving around which means that they are more likely to feel the cold. A heated trailer or similar conditions will often suffice. It’s also a good idea to offer facilities for warming meals. If possible, set up a microwave for everyone to heat their meals. A warm meal is ideal in winter.

 

Avoid coffee
As tempted as you might be to keep coffee on hand at all times, it’s not ideal during the winter. Any drinks with caffeine will cause an elevated heart rate which will make you feel warm when you’re actually cold. Water is always best, but you can also opt for caffeine-free teas and similar beverages.

 

Gear up
You need to ensure that each and every member of your crew is wearing the proper clothing to keep them warm in these conditions. Ths means insulated undergarments, gloves, boots, hats, and heavy coats. Boots must have nonslip soles, and all clothing must keep workers warm and dry.

 

Daily site review
Although this should be done no matter the weather conditions, it’s even more important in the winter. Thorough inspections of the worksite need to be conducted every day before work commences. Snow, ice, damaged power lines, and fallen trees all present very real hazards. If you encounter any of these problems, make sure that you take the correct measures or contact the relevant parties to resolve the issue before your crew starts work. Also, by clearing snow and ice before your crew arrives will greatly increase productivity. Not only will you make your workplace safer but you will also allow your team to get to work as soon as they arrive.

 

Inspect vehicles
All work vehicles and construction machinery should be thoroughly inspected before use. Make sure that they are all fully functional and that each vehicle is supplied with a winter emergency kit. These kits should include a snow brush, ice scraper, shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, tow chain, emergency flares, snacks, water, and a blanket.

 

Worker training
Your workers also need to understand the risks that go hand in hand with construction work in winter. This means that they need to know how to deal with things like their work vehicle not starting, a vehicle accident, and how to get the help they need. They should also receive professional training on frostbite and hypothermia signs and symptoms. Even supervisors and anyone else on the construction site should be trained in this regard. You never know when this training will come in handy!

 

Keep your workers safe this winter! Take a look at our enclosure systems and quality scaffolding at TCS Construction. Just because it’s winter does not mean that you have to put the breaks on any of your construction projects. Just ask our team how we can help ensure that your project moves along as scheduled!