Working in construction is already one of the more dangerous professions and adding freezing temperatures only adds to the long lists of things workers have to worry about. Freezing temperatures will make tools and worksites hazardous as well increase the risk for frost bite or hypothermia. Here are the dos and don’ts of working on a construction site during the colder months.
Do: Dress Appropriately
One of the most important things to do when being outside for extended periods of time during the winter is making sure you are dressed appropriately. According to OSHA you should wear three layers when working on site during the winter time. The more layers you wear, the warmer you will be. You should also consider wearing a hat/hood, gloves, and insulated boots.
Don’t: Forget to Take Breaks
Working a long shift can be extremely taxing on the mind and body already. The cold temperatures make it much worse, make sure you take advantage of your breaks and go inside to warm up. On your breaks make sure you are drinking warm, sweetened liquids like coffee or hot chocolate… they will help you warm up much faster!
Do: Be Cautious Around Fallen Power lines
One thing the colder months bring is a lot of snow and ice. This can lead to tools and power lines becoming wet and eventually freezing. According to OSHA dangers include electrocution, fires, and being struck by collapsing trees or poles. If you need to work around power lines, make sure supervisors and workers who are qualified do a thorough hazard analysis to find the safest way to complete the job.
Don’t: Use Unprepared Vehicles
Driving during the colder months can be extremely dangerous as there is ice on the floor and vehicles are prone to skidding and causing accidents. Before you get in your vehicle, make sure you do a thorough inspection and check if all windows and mirrors are visible to you. In addition, you may want to consider switching to snow tires, so you will have an easier time navigating through unplowed roads.
Do: Remove Ice and Snow
One of the most important things to do when working outside on site during the winter time is ensuring all ice and snow is properly removed. Leaving it will most likely cause injuries and accidents that can easily be avoided like equipment falling or people slipping. Make sure to shovel before starting work and keep salt on site to help speed up the melting process.
Don’t: Forget to Wear Visible Gear
It can be hard to see in extreme weather conditions especially in heavy rain and snow. It is important to make yourself as visible as possible, so you can be easily be seen when working on busy roads. One of the best things to wear is reflective clothing, this will allow light to reflect off your clothing, so you can be seen at night too!
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