During the coldest days of Winter, many people are bundling up and staying indoors, but construction workers are still on the job. Construction work is a year-round business, but there are times during the winter when it’s just too cold to be outside. In this blog post, we will discuss when it is safe to work on a construction site in the winter and when it is not. We will also provide some tips for working in cold weather conditions.
Winter Weather Can Pose a Danger to Construction Workers
When it comes to construction safety , the winter weather can pose some unique risks. As temperatures drop, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite increases. If workers are outside during a snowstorm or blizzard, there is an increased chance of slips and falls due to icy conditions. In addition, high winds can cause tools and materials to be blown away or even topple scaffolding.
Always Keep Track of the Forecast for the Day
The first step to winter construction safety is to keep track of the forecast for the day. If temperatures are expected to drop below freezing or winds kick up, it may be best to postpone the work until a more suitable climate can be reached. Try to use the Cold Stress Index (CSI) as a guide when making decisions about when it is safe to work and when too cold.
The CSI takes into account both the temperature and wind chill factor to determine when it is unsafe for workers to be outside. A reading of 5 or higher indicates that conditions are dangerous enough that employees should not remain outside for long periods of time. Take adequate breaks in such cases.
Temperatures Under 10°F Pose a Risk
When temperatures drop below 10°F, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite become too great for workers to be outside. If possible, all work should be postponed or moved indoors until the temperature rises again. In especially severe weather conditions, snowfall, ice buildup, and high winds can also contribute to dangerous conditions for workers.
Wind Speeds Over 30 mph are Hazardous
High winds can create a dangerous environment for construction workers, especially when working on scaffolding or elevated platforms. When wind speeds reach above 30mph, the potential risk of accidents increases dramatically and work should be halted until the winds die down. It is also important to make sure any tools or materials that could become airborne in high winds are secured.
Dress Warm to Protect from the Elements
If it is determined that work can go forward, be sure to dress for the elements. Make sure workers are wearing warm, waterproof clothing and have access to thermal blankets if needed. Wear a hat and gloves whenever possible, as these help keep body heat in. If snow or ice is present, make sure all workers are equipped with snow boots or ice cleats to help reduce slips and falls.
Provide PPE & Winter Safety Equipment
Finally, make sure all workers are provided with the necessary safety equipment, including hard hats and personal protective gear . Safety glasses should also be worn if there is a chance of debris flying around due to high winds.
Contact Atlantic Equipment for Construction Safety Supplies, Tools, & Tips
By following these tips and keeping track of the forecast, construction crews can stay safe during the coldest months of the year. For more information on winter construction safety, contact Atlantic Equipment today! Our highly-trained staff is always happy to help with any questions you may have about safety equipment or how to keep your work site safe during the winter months. With our help, you can keep your construction site running safely through even the harshest of winters.