Top Tips for Winter Safety on Site
Jan 21, 2020
Building sites are busy places with a lot of different tradesmen running around doing the work they’ve been hired for. Maintaining safety is not just the responsibility of individuals but also site managers. In winter, the risks associated with the construction industry become even more evident.
Poor weather conditions, freezing surfaces and other increased hazards all combine to make life for the humble builder a lot more difficult. Bad weather can strike at any time and it’s important to be properly prepared.
Make Sure Employees are Properly Trained
While individual sole traders might take health and safety less seriously, building sites are normally run by companies and are employing workers to undertake the work so have a more overt legal responsibility. There is a duty of care that is underpinned by health and safety legislation.
That includes ensuring anyone working on a construction site has the appropriate health and safety training and understands what the rules are and what their responsibilities are. Working in cold weather presents many challenges including cold stress, the potential for falls and the increased risk of accidents. It’s important for individuals to understand the risks and that they are confident to raise an health and safety issue should it arise.
Check the Site for Hazards at Regular Intervals
The site manager has a huge responsibility when it comes to ensuring that the location is safe to operate during certain weather conditions. Scaffolding, ladders and walkways can all become more hazardous. The manager has to assess the risk and decide whether work is able to continue and that needs to be made independently of schedules and the drive for completion.
Schedule Workers for Shorter Periods Outside
One option is to ensure that workers are not exposed to the cold for such long periods as they might be during the summer. Making their stints shorter before they take a break ensures that issues such as cold stress don’t become a problem.
Cold stress such as hypothermia occurs if the conditions are so cold that it affects the individuals health and even has an impact on their decision making, something that can lead to serious accidents.
Shield Work Areas Where Possible
Cold, biting winds are no fun to work in and building sites are often open to the elements. Providing work shields during cold weather that protect workers from the full elements not only improves conditions but means that individuals are able to remain safe while getting on with their job.
Create a Warm Space
It’s also important to have warm spaces on site that construction workers can go to get out of the cold. This may be a break area where hot beverages and food are available. If this is not being used, ensure that all vehicles have working heating.
Ensure Workers Have the Right Protective Gear
Finally, on any construction site wearing the appropriate gear is important. That means workers are not unduly exposed to the elements and are protected as much as possible. This could mean, for example, workers wearing safety ropes to protect them from falls or something as simple as wearing warm clothing.
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