The following is a guest post written by Laurence Banville, Esq.
Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of Banville Law. Laurence is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.
When the winter winds start whipping around, it is time for construction workers and construction companies to take the necessary steps to avoid cold weather injuries. Companies need to know how to offer protection from the cold, and worker safety needs to be a top priority for everyone.
To maximize productivity in the cold weather while minimizing injuries, it is important to attend to the details. If your winter construction job allows it, then you should be wearing durable mittens during the work day instead of gloves. When your fingers are together in a mitten, they create heat that will prevent frostbite.
Work site supervisors and workers need to be properly trained to identify frostbite and other signs of cold weather issues to keep a job site safe. Each and every person working on a winter construction job site should be trained on how to identify and handle weather emergencies. There should also be emergency provisions available that everyone can access to help someone who is affected by the cold before frostbite settles in.
Walking On Ice
While OSHA feels it would be ideal if workers could avoid walking on patches of ice during winter construction projects, it is inevitable that workers will be forced to walk on ice to do their jobs. OSHA recommends that all workers should wear footwear with the proper soles to make walking on ice as safe as possible, and to take very small steps to decrease the possibility of falling. Boot with rubber treads are ideal for winter walking, and it is important to make sure that workers always wear thick socks to prevent frostbite.
Every winter construction job site should have warming shacks with warm drinks that workers can access when they need to. It is extremely dangerous to leave workers out in the cold with no escape and no way to get some warm liquids to help keep themselves from freezing.
Tell Workers To Avoid Caffeine
Many construction workers have gotten into the habit of having a cigarette and a cup of coffee before walking onto the work site, and that habit could cause problems in the cold winter months. Caffeine and nicotine accelerate the heart rate and that can become dangerously enhanced when the worker heads out to work in the cold. Companies should recommend that workers look into other pre-work habits and try drinks that do not have caffeine to maximize safety in the winter.
The processes that improve safety in the warm weather may not necessarily work in the cold. For example, sending a worker onto the roof of a structure to clear off snow is not quite as cut-and-dry as moving materials during the summer. Part of winter construction training is understanding how the cold and snow make simple tasks more difficult. The site supervisor and workers need to plan out every task to make sure that the potential issues with the weather are taken into account.
When the winter weather hits, it is important for construction companies to be aware of the new set of dangers that snow brings to construction sites. Along with protection from the cold, construction companies also have to make sure that their employees are prepared to handle the cold in every way to avoid injuries and enhance worker safety.