If you’ve been outdoors working on a construction site recently, you’ve probably been wondering when the winter weather will really start. This year it looks like it’ll be after Christmas, according to the weather services. But that could change, so make sure you’re ready for the really cold weather when it arrives. Here is a winter construction checklist of things to watch out for:
Limit exposure to the outdoors for long periods of time
Provide your crew with a warm dry area to go to on breaks, such as a trailer, a nearby garage, or even a tent with heaters in it. It will help them retain body heat and keep up morale.
Make sure workers know the signs of cold-induced illnesses
For signs of frostbite and hypothermia primarily but also make sure any workers that have heart conditions or diabetes, know the risks of a more demanding winter environment.
Make sure everyone hydrates properly
Caffeine is a diuretic so ask everyone to avoid it. Warm water or sports beverages are best. No alcohol obviously.
Be extra careful around propane heaters
They are relatively low risk unless they are tipped over and become a fire hazard or if you try to use them in enclosed spaces, where is a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Look for heaters have a very stable base and have features like locking burners, a low-pressure burner system and wind resistant shields.
Provide sufficient lighting
Less daylight means more eyestrain and more safety hazards. Make sure everything is well lit.
Follow the weather closely
Avoid bringing workers in on days that could make for a dangerous commute or work shift, such as in heavy freezing rain or blizzard conditions.
Deal with snow and ice immediately
Make sure any accumulation of snow in traffic areas is dealt with immediately to avoid anyone slipping and falling. Clear sufficient space for vehicles, and pathways for people, any time of the day it is needed. Same for applying sand or salt.
Enforce proper winter dress
Make sure workers have proper winter gear including winter coats, several layers of clothes to adjust for rising and falling temperatures, non-slip soles, hats and gloves.
Keep your winter construction checklist top of mind
Of course it is great to get some extra work in during the winter months, even if it is more physically demanding. Since it also has its dangers, make sure you prepare for the upcoming cold days ahead and stay vigilant throughout the winter season.