Tips for Keeping the Construction Site Safe in Winter.
Working on a construction/building site can be hazardous no matter the weather, but during the winter there are more potential hazards to take into account; just working for a full day in the cold weather is a danger to health. To help you with safety in the winter conditions, we have compiled a list of tips to help you stay safe on site.
Before you even think about the site itself, you must protect yourself from being continually exposed to the weather. Spending long periods of time in the cold could lead to a plethora of health issues such as bronchitis, hypothermia and frostbite. These are all quite severe health issues and will more than likely lead to multiple days if not weeks off sick.
In order to avoid any illnesses related to the conditions, it is crucial that all workers on site wear warm clothing and the correct protective equipment. It may feel like the thicker clothing and protective equipment may be impeding movement and work, but it is much more important to put health before anything else, and after some time it should become easier to work with.
Upon arrival to site, it is imperative that the first port of call is to check over the whole site to ensure that the weather has not generated any causes for concern, or if it will at any point during the day. Walkways, scaffolding, ladders and stairs can become slippery during the cold weather and can be a serious risk to workers.
These areas will need to be treated with grit, sand or salt, and everyone on site should be made aware of these areas. Where possible it may be better to seek an alternative route for the workers to use.
Make sure you are aware of the current weather forecast if you are working on any outdoor project. Where rain or snow is predicted, even freezing temperatures, make sure you address this by taking the appropriate steps to weatherproof the area.
Natural light in winter doesn’t last very long, with the night’s drawing in earlier and earlier every day. If workers can not sufficiently see the area in which they are working, it is probable they will not see any upcoming hazards until it’s too late.
The only way to get around this issue is to increase the lighting in these areas, whether that be adding upon the existing light sources, or bringing in new sources of light. Either way, it will make a great deal of difference, since it is not unusual for the sun to set mid to late afternoon, whilst a majority of workers will still be on site.
It is more than likely the surrounding paths, walkways and roads will become icy at some point during the winter. To help combat the issue, grit, salt or sand can be spread to melt any of the ice that may exist and prevent anymore ice developing.
As stated earlier in this post, the cold weather itself puts workers at risk of various health issues. Due to this, workers must ensure that they take regular breaks and head to a heated area to warm up. Five minutes in a heated room with a hot drink can make a great deal of difference.
Last but not least, eating should be a priority when working in cold weather. Working in cold weather takes much more energy, you will find yourself becoming fatigued faster than you normally would, so it is crucial that you give your body the fuel it needs to power you through the day.
Those are our top tips for keeping safe when working on a construction site throughout the winter months. It is vital that the health of workers is a priority, without them, the project would not be possible to undertake. For more content, check out the rest of our blog.