In our last blog post, we focussed on the importance of cold weather safety for construction workers. Today, we will highlight some of the best ways to ensure safe practices for the worksite itself.

Maintenance

One of the best things you can do is get your worksite sorted prior to the winter season. Maintaining aspects like driveways, parking spaces, and loading areas will make your workload come winter, a lot less of a burden. Fill the potholes, work on uneven surfaces and mark the more hazardous areas now.

Light up the job site on short winter days or in snowy conditions, be aware that headlights alone may not be enough light to illuminate ground conditions

Inspection/Preparation

Daily inspection of your worksite is critical, especially after bad weather. Look out for fallen trees, downed power lines, and ice and snow on walkways and working surfaces. Areas that can’t be cleared should be marked clearly.

Two of the most common accidents on a construction site are slips and falls. During the cooler months, surfaces like paths, driveways, ladders, scaffolding, and stairs can easily accumulate ice and water. Hot Tip – Salt or sand onto frozen areas will assist in melting and provide better traction for machines and workers.

The next thing to inspect are the construction vehicles and inspection and preparation tend to happen simultaneously. The key to preparing your vehicle is to ‘warm’ it up correctly, instructions will have been provided by the manufacturer. In cold temperatures, the electrical system inside the machine/equipment can become brittle and brake, cab heaters must be in full working condition and windshields must be cleared of ice/condensation.

Before entering the machine, check for deflated tyres, icy patches and areas on the roadway that will provide poor traction. It’s also important to be aware of where you touch the machine with exposed hands/skin. The machine’s metal will be extra cold and can burn or even rip your skin.

Batteries

Don’t forget to check your machines battery. Cold weather puts batteries under extreme strain which increases power loss. In the winter, warning signs from your machine is as important as ever to ensure you don’t end up stranded in the cold.

Signs of break impending breakdown:
– Battery has not been replaced within the last 3 years
– Fails to start more than once
– Unusual sounds when turning the machine on
– Dimming and brightening headlights

Emergency kits for Machines/Work Vehicles

Every company vehicle should be equipped with a kit specific to winter weather emergency.

Winter weather emergency kits should include the following:
– Shovel
– Ice scraper
– Protein Bars
– Sleeping bag/warm blanket that won’t hold moisture
– Tow straps
– Salt/sand to help with traction

During operation

– Go slow to avoid slipping/skidding on ice
– Make sure your site is well lit up during the shorter, darker days in the middle of winter
– Keep windows clear, if visibility becomes a problem stop work immediately

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