Stay Safe on Site during the Winter Months
Accidents increase on construction sites during the autumn and winter months.
Strong winds, freezing temperatures and wet conditions all make trips and falls more likely – and more likely to be serious when they do happen. So it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and the safety of other site staff over this period.
As we nudge into November the winter suddenly seems to be fast approaching. The days are becoming darker, wetter and colder and are ideal conditions for accidental injuries to occur.
Construction Site Dangers
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the following five safety issues should be addressed over the autumn and winter:
- Wet and decaying leaves
- Ice, frost and snow
As our daylight becomes reduced, you should ensure your site is well lit so any potential hazards can been seen and avoided. This may mean bringing in additional lighting.
Fallen leaves become unlikely hazards and should be removed on a regular basis. Decaying leaves can cause serious slips and trips. Excess rainwater also causes problems, as unofficial pathways become sludgy and slippery. Rainwater is also easily walked into buildings causing fatal floors. And when the snow and ice hit, it’s essential to cover frozen areas or grit to prevent harmful tumbles.
But it’s not just potential accidents you need to be aware of when working on a building site during the winter months: the plummeting temperatures can play havoc with an outdoor worker’s health and general wellbeing too.
The Chill Factor
Working outdoors in cold temperatures can cause serious health issues; it’s therefore crucial to ensure the correct steps are taken to combat any negative effects of the cold weather.
Being cold can make for a less effective, less alert worker. So keeping as warm as possible and taking regular breaks is a must for construction staff in order to avoid possible accidents.
When working in extremely cold temperatures, construction workers could be at risk of developing cold stress. When exposed to a cold climate our bodies use heat and energy faster than it can be produced; this will be made worse if the weather is also wet.
If exposed to freezing temperatures for a prolonged period of time, energy reserves become exhausted, causing serious health conditions. Cold stress can quickly lead to hyperthermia.
According to The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, the following are early signs of hyperthermia:
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion and disorientation
Make sure those on your work site stay safe from cold stress by wearing adequate winter workwear and by staying active.
As body heat is lost from the head, wearing a helmet liner underneath a hard hat is a great way to keep warmer. A helmet liner will also protect ears and sides of the face from the elements too. Waterproof work boots are a must. And coupled with a pair or two of thermal socks, will help to keep feet dry and cosy.
Remember: Don’t stand still for long. Keep moving. However, sweat caused by activity will make the body colder, so it’s sensible to layer clothing, both for warmth and to allow for the removal of any damp layers.
But the winter months are not only hazardous on site; the roads during this time of year can be a particularly dangerous place for employees.
Winter Driving Danger
We all know extra caution should be taken when driving in wet or frosty conditions. But going a little too fast is all too easily done whatever the weather.
Your company’s hard-earned reputation can be compromised and company vans written off by careless drivers. So how do you ensure they slow down and stay safe during the winter months?
By fitting a tracking system, you’ll know exactly how your company vehicles are driven. You’ll be alerted when they go over a certain speed, know the amount of time spent speeding and be informed of any harsh acceleration or breaking.
To find out more about how a tracking system from Phantom can help you keep your staff safer on the roads this winter, call 0161 476 4050, today.