Funnily enough, construction doesn’t come to a screeching halt when the colder weather hits town. With the conditions changing dramatically, so should your work safe practices. Follow the guidelines below to ensure you and your staff are working in safe conditions this cold season. Don’t forget to review these with your staff in meetings and while on the job.
Firstly, it’s important to address your staff members PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Hard Hat Liners – For warmth, recommend wearing liners inside hard hats to help your workers stay warm and to prevent their body warmth escaping.
- Gloves – Frostbite is a serious cold weather injury when you are exposed to the cold. Ensure staff have well-fitted gloves that are comfortable enough to use their tools safely. Signs of Frostbite are red, white or waxy skin that feels numb or tingling. Seek immediate medical assistance, keep the area dry and cover loosely.
- Boots – Waterproof boots are essential and must be non-slip. If the boots are steel-toed, recommend staff wear extra socks as the metal will harbour the cold.
- Personal Fall Systems – When using ‘fall systems’ remind staff to adjust the straps to fit over their bulkier layers.
- Goggles – Provide each team with anti-fog spray for better vision through their face masks or safety goggles.
- Layers- It is important staff members are wearing enough layers to keep out the cold but these layers must not restrict their mobility. On the other hand, layers must not be loose enough to get caught in any machinery. Clothing that doesn’t hold moisture is also extremely important.
- High Visibility Clothing – Low visibility is a major problem in winter months, if you can’t see one another, anyone can become a victim. The more High-vis clothing being worn the better.
Keep an eye on the Weather Forecast
There’s not much else that can impact you, your staff and your project more than not being prepared for the days weather. If the weather looks like it will take a turn for the worst, allow time to secure the site and for your workers to get home safely.
Heated Break Areas
It’s important to remember that workers use more energy when working in cold weather as their bodies try to keep warm. Ideally, workers will have a warm area to go to during their breaks. Taking frequent breaks, drinking warm liquids and changing out of wet clothes will limit the impact the cold weather has. Any portable heaters should be marked as safe for the area of use.
Did you know dehydration can be as much of a problem in cooler months as it is in the warmer. People often forget to hydrate due to the cold, so keep an eye out for headaches, dizziness, dry mouth etc. Move the staff member to a warm environment where they can comfortably drink some water and seek medical help if necessary.
Safety is important year round. By implementing safety guidelines for the various seasons, employees will gain an understanding of how conditions both warm and cool can greatly impact their work and their safety. No matter the season, it is essential that safety comes first.
Keep an eye out for our next blog on Cold Weather Safety For Heavy Machinery Operators.