Working in cold weather requires some different preparation than in warm weather. Here at Contractors Insurance Agency we want to be sure your construction work can continue safely through the winter months so you can stay profitable.
Winter has a whole new area of incidents that could occur on a job site, such as slipping on ice, frozen fingers or toes, damage to equipment in storms, and more.
Here are 5 tips to help you work safely through the winter:
- Winter Inspections
Having a well-maintained road before winter starts will make snow removal and maintenance easier once worse conditions blow in. Any holes, etc. that can be filled in need to be marked or barricaded off so that they do not become hazards when it snows.
Keep any reserves of sand or salt for road surfaces readily available and have a procedure in place for how you will use them.
Make sure engine and hydraulic oils in your equipment are rated for the temperatures in your area, and replace them if needed. Make sure the heaters in your vehicles and equipment work correctly and get them repaired if they don’t.
- Snow and Ice Removal
Be careful if you are shoveling snow by hand. Studies have shown cold temperatures can constrict arteries, which increases blood pressure and the chance of a heart attack.
Any workers that have risk of heart attack should not be participating in shoveling snow.
- Prevent slips on ice whenever possible
Slipping on ice is one of the most common incidents that occurs at a construction site.
Ice can accumulate on scaffolding, ladders, walkways, stairs and work platforms, so you need to be careful and instruct your staff to be careful and everyone that sees ice on a surface should be responsible for cleaning it off or alerting someone in management about the issue.
- Work Indoors as much as possible in Freezing Temperatures
Freezing temperatures cause skin and internal body temperatures to drop. This can lead to issues such as frostbite and hypothermia. If that happens, it can lead to permanent tissue damage or in some serious cases, death.
If work cannot be rescheduled, set up warm areas for workers, make hot drinks easily accessible during breaks and give frequent breaks to warm up inside if possible. You may want to also consider shifts that are shorter in time so that you can reduce exposure to freezing weather.
- Personal protection equipment
Because personal protection equipment (PPE) for winter is to help you and your staff to stay warm, they can be bulky and limit mobility.
Be sure you are balancing protective gear so that it is warm and safe but also allows mobility to complete tasks.
Choosing PPE that is insufficient for the task or conditions can lead to issues such as loss of peripheral vision, loss of clear hearing, fogged up eyewear, decreased mobility and inadequate traction when on the ground.
Selecting PPE that best suits the task and conditions will ensure the risk of injury is as low as possible while still allowing functionality.
Gloves need to be heavy and durable, but with the right fabric and texture to allow you to remain dexterous. They should also be durable and waterproof in case of rain, melting snow and ice.
Insulated boots keep your feet warm and dry. They need to be breathable, so perspiration can get out. Also important is the level of traction you have when walking on slippery surfaces.
We hope these tips are good reminders of the best way to stay profitable and efficient through the cold and sometimes dangerous months of winter.
If you need any help with your insurance needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Contractors Insurance Agency at any time.