Safety Tips for Winter Construction
Category: Equipment and Solutions
For many construction operations, the work doesn’t stop when the thermometer drops. While working during the winter generates revenue and keeps crews employed, it does pose certain safety hazards. Frostbite, slipping on ice and hypothermia are just a few of the many risks that accompany the frigid weather.
The following tips can help you and your team stay safe during cold winter days at the job site:
- Dress appropriately: All workers must make sure they’re wearing proper personal protective equipment from head to toe. Hard hats with liners prevent body heat from escaping via the head and protect against slip-and-fall injuries. Other elements in a construction worker’s winter wardrobe include several layers of clothing under a waterproof outer layer, gloves that provide sufficient digital dexterity and waterproof boots with nonslip soles.
- Take frequent breaks: Provide access to heated tents or trailers where workers can get out of the cold. The breaks also allow them to change out of wet clothes and inspect fingers and toes for signs of frostbite.
- Stay hydrated: It’s just as important to drink plenty of fluids when working in colder weather as it is in the heat. Consuming plenty of caffeine-free hot beverages throughout the day keeps workers properly hydrated and reduces the hypothermia risk.
- Remove snow and ice: To prevent slips and falls, clear all snow and ice from walkways, roofs, ladders, work platforms and scaffolding. If possible, use machines such as backhoe loaders and skid steers equipped with snow removal attachments when performing the task. If you must remove snow manually, choose younger crew members who don’t have any underlying medical conditions.
- Follow cold-weather equipment warming instructions: Extreme cold can take a toll on tools and heavy equipment and keep them from operating safely. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding warming up equipment properly before use and caring for it between winter projects.
- Store emergency kits in work vehicles: Ensure each vehicle or machine in your winter fleet includes a kit containing essential cold-weather emergency supplies, including ice scrapers, collapsible snow shovels, flares and cat litter or sand for traction. It should have non-perishable snacks, water and blankets in case a work truck becomes stranded.
- Properly maintain vehicles: Winter weather requires more stringent maintenance procedures for on-road and off-road vehicles and heavy equipment. Frequently check brakes, engines, electrical connections, tires, exhaust systems and lights and closely monitor oil and coolant levels.
- Keep an eye on the weather: Winter weather can change quickly. Pay close attention to the weather reports throughout the day and be ready to secure the site and move to a safe location if you get word that a storm is on the way.
Contact NMC The Cat Rental Store for More Winter Safety Tips
NMC The Cat Rental Store is your one-stop headquarters for all the heavy equipment you need at your winter construction sites. We can also provide additional tips to keep your crews safe. Call us at 855.NMC.RENT to learn more.