Navigating Construction Safety in the Frosty Months

20 November 2023

Batten down the hatches, folks! Winter is upon us, and that means braving the chilly, damp, and slippery conditions that come with the season. Construction workers bear the brunt of the cold, facing risks like frostbite, hypothermia, and slips and falls. Yikes! But, with a bit of preparation, you can keep your team safe and toasty. Here are some tips to make sure you’re winter-ready on the construction site this December.

Fearlessly Face the Frosty Forecast
Don’t let the winter blues get you down! But before you start any work, get cosy with a risk assessment to spot potential chilly hazards. Slippery walkways, ice-cold pipes, and low visibility can all bring a frosty bite. Once you’ve pinpointed the risks, take charge and zap them away! Shovel snow off path and rooftops, sprinkle salt or sand for better traction, and set up warning signs and barriers to keep folks on the right path. And if you’ve got five or more staff members, make sure to jot down your chilly findings and actions.

Get ready to battle the cold and keep yourself protected like a boss
Suit up in loose layers that are water-resistant and made of materials like wool, fleece, or polypropylene that will keep you toasty. Skip the cotton, though, as it’s not much of a team player when wet. Add some style with a hat, gloves, boots, and scarf to keep your head, hands, feet, and neck cosy in the chill. Don’t forget to bring your PPE A-game: hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, and a high-visibility vest. And of course, no superhero outfit is complete without a mask or respirator to keep dust, fumes, and vapours from crashing the party.

When it comes to working in chilly weather, don’t forget to give your body some extra love
Sipping on some H2O or sports drinks is key to keeping your energy levels high and dehydration at bay, so wave goodbye to caffeine and alcohol! Chow down on some carb and protein-packed goodies like nuts, granola bars, cheese, or sandwiches to keep your body temperature cosy and your tummy happy.

Keep an eye on yourself and your colleagues
Know the warning signs of cold-related illnesses and injuries, like shivers, numbness, confusion, or if someone starts talking like a tipsy pirate. If you spot any of these signals, hit pause, take cover, and call for backup. Regular check-ins are also a must, so partner up and watch each other’s backs in case of an icy emergency.

Brrr, working in chilly temps can make your muscles and joints feel like ice lollies and leave you feeling drained.
To avoid feeling like an icicle, take regular breaks in a toasty and dry spot where you can rest and warm up. Give your body a little love with some gentle stretches to keep your blood flowing and your limbs limber. Whatever you do, don’t stay put for hours on end. Keep moving to avoid turning into a human ice cube.

Stay out of harm’s way by playing it safe at work
Keep your peepers peeled on all the safety rules and protocols you need to follow for your specific job and gear. Remember to give your tools and machines a thorough check before and after every use, and if anything looks off, report it pronto. When dealing with materials, use the right methods to move, lift, and transfer them without overloading yourself. And keep a watchful eye on any electrical work, especially in wet or icy conditions, as safety is always the top priority.

Ready your superhero cape and blast off into planning mode
Before kicking off any work, peek at the weather predictions and conditions, and stay flexible enough to tweak your schedule if needed. Also, channel your inner boy-scout by crafting an emergency plan and packing a survival kit full of goodies like a first aid kit, flashlight, whistle, phone, radio, and extra clothes. It’s also wise to keep your colleagues and supervisor in the loop and have emergency services on speed dial in case of any mishaps.

Don’t get caught in the cold this winter construction season! With these top tips, you’ll be ready for anything December has to throw at you. Just remember, everyone’s responsible for staying safe, so keep an eye out for your fellow builders.