3 Ways for Construction Workers to Avoid Winter Safety Hazards
With winter fast approaching, it’s a great time to brush up on seasonal safety best practices. Wintry conditions such as ice, snow, frost, heavy rain and frigid temperatures present a unique set of hazards that we normally do not have to deal with during warmer months. Though there are several things to pay special attention to during winter months, here are 3 quick safety reminders for construction site teams to remember:
As temperatures drop, construction workers must remember to never leave safety out in the cold.
1. Pay Special Attention to Walking and Working Surfaces
Walking around a jobsite can be extremely dangerous under even the best conditions. When freezing rain, snow and frozen ground are added to the mix, a jobsite can become downright treacherous. We encourage our site teams to develop site logistic plans that include clearly delineated travel paths around the site, early start times for snow removal and salt crews, and later start times when bad roads could cause vehicle accidents. We also recommend adding line items added to Job Safety Analyses (JSAs), equipment, tool and scaffold inspections to address possible accumulation of ice and snow.
2. Never Ditch Your Cut-Resistant Gloves
Gray Construction, much like many other companies in the industry, now requires team members to wear 100 percent cut-resistant gloves when performing any construction activity. Since this policy was implemented, we’ve seen a significant reduction in our recordable hand injury cases. While these gloves do a tremendous job at reducing lacerations, they are not always the warmest. As temperatures drop, we often see contractors trade in their cut-resistant gloves for something that provides more warmth. We stress to everyone on our job sites that they are welcome to wear warmer gloves—just as long as they are worn over or under their required cut-resistant gloves.
3. Remember that High Visibility Clothing Must Still Be Worn
This time of year, it’s not uncommon for the day to start out a beautiful and sunny 60 degrees, and end in a 35 degree snow. It’s important to remember that as we add or remove clothing, jackets and coveralls throughout the day, we must always maintain our high-visibility clothing on the outer-most layer. During winter months, it’s crucial that construction workers not only be warm—they must be seen!
These are just a few things to keep in mind this winter. For more comprehensive information on how to better prepare for and respond to severe winter weather, make sure to visit OSHA’s Winter Weather webpage.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a contributing author and not necessarily Gray.