While school kids and office workers are dancing for joy at the prospect of numerous snow days tucked in their cosy homes, unfortunately for us in the construction industry, there will be no rest for the wicked as we prepare to battle the elements on site.
Humour aside, the winter months are one of the most dangerous for construction site staff. It isn’t just the usual trips and falls we need to consider but also the real danger of hypothermia.
To help you prepare your site teams for the winter freeze we have created some top tips to help you keep your site staff safe.
Not a new concept, but probably the most important. It’s the first element of defence against cold conditions, and if not done correctly could lead to a whole host of physical illnesses such as bronchitis, frostbite or hypothermia.
Some protective wear includes:
Although costs for these types of protection can add up, so can the number of staff sick days and delays on site if your site workers aren’t provided with the right protection.
It is particularly important that each morning you undertake a check of the site to identify any problem, or potential problem areas.
The constant freezing and defrosting of water and moisture from the winter chill and sun can cause numerous slippery surfaces to appear on construction site walkways which is one of the greatest causes of falls and trips on site.
Undertake regular checks of all walkways and work areas throughout the day as the weather changes, keeping an eye on weather reports for any change in weather conditions that is to occur. Gritting all walkways is another great idea to defrost any icy surfaces, but to also prevent any more ice from forming. In this instance, prevention is always better than cure.
When undertaking site checks it is also important to review the light available on site throughout the day. The morning winter sun may have us searching for the summer shades, but past noon it’s more than likely we can be searching for the torch light.
Taking note of light availability throughout your site during the hours of the day will give you a good indication of the additional lighting you may need to keep visibility high for your staff.
There is only so long we can spend in the cold before we become miserable, unwell and unproductive. Keep your site staff mentally and physically well by allowing them regular breaks throughout the work day to warm up, rehydrate and eat.
It will not only stop fatigue, but a warm brew can fight off the negative health effects of the extreme cold.