Cold Weather Safety for Construction

Cold Weather Safety for Construction

The construction industry is a high risk industry, regardless of the time of year.  But when cold temperatures, snow and ice, and wind are added to the mix, precautions must be in place to protect your workforce, your equipment and materials, and the job.

Taking precautions and educating your employees on cold weather winter safety best practices can reduce the rate of illness, injury and dangerous accidents. Always emphasize “safety first.”

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Winter Construction

    1. Know the forecast and pay attention to changing weather conditions.  Today we enjoy the benefit of real time updates on our phones and computers.  When the weather outside is unsuitable for outside work, reschedule.  
    2. Limit exposure to the elements. Wind chill can take an existing temperature from workable to downright miserable.  And when wind and low temperatures are combined, it can be hard to reduce exposure for workers. Your employees were not made to be outdoors in these elements for long periods of time.  Schedule outside work in shorter durations. Break up larger projects into smaller tasks.
    3. Establish a warm break area. Outside work is absolutely unavoidable for the construction industry, but workers need a place away from the elements to take a break. A heated trailer or a tent with portable heaters and appropriate ventilation works great. Educate supervisors and workers on proper safety procedures with heating devices.
    4. Emphasize proper hydration.  We forget that our bodies sweat, even when it is cold outside, and especially when we are wearing extra layers of clothing.  Keep plenty of water on hand.  While many workers think caffeinated drinks will get them through, water is what the body really needs.  
    5. Require clothing that will keep workers warm and dry.  Boots with non-slip soles, heavy coats, gloves, and hats are all essential for protecting the body from severe cold weather.  Proper clothing is the first step in preventing hypothermia and frostbite and for cold weather protection.
    6. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Even when employers do everything they can to protect workers, issues can still arise. Supervisors and workers need to know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite so that if anyone shows these signs, they can receive immediate medical attention.
    7. Remove snow and ice. Check the job site early each day, before the work begins,for snow and ice accumulation and for any additional hazards.  Be prepared with salt or sand and remove large patches of snow and ice.  Snow and ice removal, if left to the crew, will slow down the job and deplete their energy.  
    8. Winterize and prepare vehicles. Before heading into the cold season, inspected all vehicles and equipment to determine if they are prepared for cold weather construction. Top off fluids, check tire tread and air pressure, and change filters.  Equip all vehicles with winter kits that contain an ice scraper, snow brush, shovel, tow chain, flashlight with extra batteries, emergency flares, a blanket, snacks and water.  Also, educate workers on what to do and who to call if they are stranded in a vehicle.
    9. Prepare and protect equipment. In addition to preparing vehicles for winter safety, smaller construction equipment also needs attention.  Air compressors work best in well-ventilated areas with an ambient temperature in the  ompressor system’s optimal range, typically 40-95°F. If the temperature around your compressor becomes too hot or too cold, the compressor may not start or may exhibit performance issues.  Moisture control also becomes a factor.  Moisture that becomes ice can accumulate and affect the way the system runs, blocking drainage and preventing efficient compression.  
    10. Protect Critical Materials.  Adhesives, concrete, shingles, paint, caulk, resins, epoxies, and other construction materials need additional protection during cold weather  construction.  Winter safety also includes keeping these materials at proper temperatures for application.  Failing to protect critical materials could result in shoddy work that affects the overall finished product.  

 

 

Put It in the Box

Hot boxes are ideal for cold weather construction safety, freeze protection, transporting, job site heating, remote location use, and winter roofing. Standard Hot Boxes hold product between 100°F and 120°F (38°C and 49°C) –optional adjustable thermostatic controllers allow precise temperature control.

Powerblanket Hot Box Benefits

bulk material warmers

  • Quick and easy assembly
  • Easily transport from job to job
  • Preserve temperature sensitive material
  • Heat materials and palletized products: adhesives, shingles, paint, caulk, resins epoxies, etc.
  • Access doors on two sides.
  • Certified to UL and CSA standards

Hot Boxes and Cold Weather Construction Safety

  • Preserve temperature sensitive materials
  • Quickly and effortlessly install the compact portable design
  • Localize heat and save money by not heating a warehouse or building
  • Lower energy-related costs with the highly efficient design

Cold weather safety for construction

Slipping on Ice and Snow Shoveling

SLIPPING ON ICE

Group of people and penguinsOn January 4, 2017, Doctors in Germany prescribed a strategy to avoid slipping on ice:  walk like a penguin. Imagine all your employees waddling back and forth like a rookery of penguins!  This is not exactly what the German trauma surgeons meant.  The technique involves leaning forward so that a person’s center of gravity is on the front leg rather than divided evenly between both legs.  “When humans walk normally, body weight is split almost evenly over both legs, which the surgeons say increases the risk of a person losing their balance and falling on slippery surfaces.”  It’s a comical visual; however, slipping on ice is a serious workplace concern during icy and cold conditions.

SLIP AND FALL STATISTICS

  • Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
  • Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men.
  • Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
  • Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.

 

SNOW SHOVELING

While snow shoveling can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for the optimistic shoveler who takes on more than he/she should. Shoveling snow is extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). Here are some tips from the National Safety Council for safe snow shoveling:

  • Little boy walking on snow melting matsIndividuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
  • Take it slow! Shoveling (like lifting weights) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically; so pace yourself. Stretch out and warm up to prepare your body before taking on the task.
  • Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down old snow.
  • Push the snow as you shovel. It’s easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
  • Don’t pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one- half of a large one.
  • Use proper technique. Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and “sitting” into the movement, you’ll keep your spine upright and less stressed. The strongest muscles in your body (your shoulders, torso and thighs) can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.

 

POWERBLANKET CREATED SUMMERSTEP

Removing ice and snow regularly to prevent slipping on ice can be a full-time job depending on the weather.   To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear and avoid snow shoveling.

 Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

  • Prevent slipping on ice and falls
  • Protect personnel from winter weather conditions and keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
  •  More convenient than shoveling snow
  • Avoid health risks associated with snow shoveling
  •  More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
  •  Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  •  40 Watts/Sq ft heated area
  •  The ONLY snow melting mat product made in the USA

 

 

 

 

Sources

“Quick Facts.” National Floor Safety Institute. 6 January 2017.  https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/

“Snow Shoveling”. National Safety Council. 6 January 2017. www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Corporate/SafetyObservancesDocuments/Snow-Shoveling.pdf

“Snow Shoveling—A Real Risk for Heart Attack”. Cleveland Clinic. 6 January 2017. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/02/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack/

“Walk like a penguin to avoid slipping on ice, German doctors advise”. Reuters in Berlin.  6 January 2017. www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/penguin-walk-german-doctors-advice-slipping-icy-paths

 

 

5 Helpful Tips for Winter Construction Efficiency

5 Tips for Winter Construction

Working outside during the cold winter months presents many obstacles; however, some jobs will not wait for better circumstances. Below are some tips and solutions to improve winter construction.

1) KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES SAFE

Train your employees in proper winter construction precautions.  Encourage everyone to wear layers of loose-fitting clothing, to stay dry, and to protect from the wind and sun with gloves, hats and sunscreen.  If conditions become too cold/dangerous, employees should have access to shelter.

On the work site, remove ice and snow regularly to prevent slips and falls.  This can be a full-time job depending on the weather.  The act of shoveling snow can also be extremely strenuous, especially for those individuals who do not engage in regular cardiovascular activity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 11,000 people seek shoveling-related hospital treatment each year for injuries (93%) or cardiac issues (7%). To save time, energy, and your employees health, use Summerstep heated safety mats to keep the walkways on your construction site clear.

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

  • ,  Protect personnel from winter weather conditions and keep stairs, doorways, walkways, and ramps free from snow and ice
  •   Prevent slips and falls
  •   More convenient than shoveling snow
  •   More effective for snow and ice melting than harsh chemicals (less damaging to the environment, reusable, won’t damage concrete or other flooring surfaces)
  •   Will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour when operating
  •   40 Watts/Sq ft heated area
  •   The ONLY snow melting mat product made in the USA

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2) MAINTAIN INTEGRITY OF CONCRETE

Winter construction cold-weather operations aren’t just about safety. While most construction tasks can be carried out in cold weather, some operations, such as concrete work, can take much longer and even fail without proper precautions.

 

If concrete is to reach necessary strength levels, it can’t be allowed to freeze for the first 24 hours after being poured or placed. Sheeting the concrete can ensure the required temperature and moisture necessary for curing, if the weather isn’t too severe.  In severe conditions, supplemental heating systems or enclosures must be brought in to maintain the integrity of the concrete.

 

Powerblanket Concrete Blankets provide a manageable way to cure concrete in the cold weather months, save you time and money, and come in various lengths and sizes. We have you covered.

 

Powerblanket Concrete Curing Blankets

  •   Cure concrete 2.8 times faster than conventional insulated blankets
  •   Produce cold weather concreting strength of 3,925 psi in 72 hours
  •   Maintain moisture throughout hydrating process
  •   Easily installed and removed
  •   Maintain ACI compliance for cold-weather concreting  Certified to UL and CSA standards

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3) DON’T LET FROZEN GROUND SLOW YOU DOWN

When it’s cold and the ground freezes, the job suffers.  Often prep for winter construction takes longer than the actual job.  Some industrial companies try heating the ground with massive coils or large heating systems, which become expensive and cumbersome. This approach requires rental fees and transporting equipment.  

Powerblanket has considered the difficulties and delays associated with winter construction and cold/freezing temperatures and has created a solution.  With Powerblanket’s patented heating technology you can prep the ground with little to no effort or supervision on your part.

Powerblanket ground thawing blankets have a higher power density and hotter temperature than our concrete curing blankets. The higher power is iideal for ground thawing applications and curing epoxy or resins.

Why Powerblanket Ground Thawing Blankets?

  •   High power density thaws frozen ground quickly
  •   Remove frost prior to concrete pour
  •   Melt snow and ice from roofs, walkways, and construction areas
  •   Easily placed and removed for repeated use in harsh winter weather
  •   Can be used to cure epoxy and resins
  •   Certified to UL and CSA standards

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4) KEEP MATERIALS WARM

Masonry, roofing, paint, and plaster/stucco materials are all sensitive to cold weather.  Maintaining the integrity of these materials is critical for their success in winter construction.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes save you money by keeping your products from freezing without the risk of overheating. The Hot Box pallet warmer is easily assembled, taken apart. Hot boxes are ideal for cold wea
ther storage, freeze protection, transporting, job site heating, remote location use, and winter roofing. Standard Hot Boxes hold product between 100°F and 120°F (38°C and 49°C) and optional adjustable thermostatic controllers allow temperatures to be precisely controlled.

Powerblanket Hot Boxes:

  •   Quick and easy assembly
  •   Preserve temperature sensitive material
  •   Heat materials and palletized products: adhesives, shingles, paint, caulk, resins epoxies, etc.
  •   Access doors on two sides.
  •   Certified to UL and CSA standards

learn-more-hot-boxes-01

5) USING A PROPANE HEATER

Winter construction professionals often use temporary, propane-powered heating equipment on the jobsite, making it easier to finish projects on time and on budget. In addition to providing more comfortable working conditions, propane-powered heaters can also maintain the ambient temperatures necessary for common tasks like drywall installation or painting. However, like any portable heating device, propane-powered heaters must be used and maintained properly.

When temperatures get too low, the propane will not flow consistently or effectively, and you may lose your heat altogether. Propane-tank efficiency will fall substantially as the temperature drops. As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your propane tank, and the pressure in your propane tank directly affects the volume of propane you have to work with. Your extraction rate (how quickly and smoothly you can extract propane from the tank) will suffer as well. Without a heating source to assist in the pressure maintenance of your tank, you will have to keep it as full as possible in order to keep it working, even if temperatures are mildly cold.

Powerblanket Propane Tank Heater

Powerblanket has the best propane tank heating solution on the market. These heating blankets will help maintain pressure and efficiency on just about any size tank. All Powerblanket heating blankets are certified to UL and CSA safety standards

Benefits of Powerblanket Propane Tank Heaters:

  •   Increase performance and efficiency of propane tanks
  •   Eliminates unnecessary cylinder refills in cold weather
  •  Even heat distribution in the areas where it is needed most
  •   Save money by optimizing gas and material usage
  •    Certified to UL and CSA standards

learn-more-propane-tank-01

 

Industrial Winter Safety

Industrial Winter Safety

Hazard sign in winter settingStay safe with these industrial winter safety guidelines.

The leaves are falling and so is the temperature.  Winter will be here shortly.  While it is beautiful and enchanting, winter can pose some major hazards if you haven’t prepared for it.  Failing to recognize and respect the dangers of winter is not recommended.

Whether you are traveling through, working in, or enjoying the weather, the following industrial winter safety tips are helpful to ensure your safety and good health:

Wear Layered Clothing

Multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing allow the worker to adjust their comfort level and protection based on the current temperature.  Tight fitting clothes reduce blood circulation.  Many forget the danger of sunburn when it is cold outside, but it is always important to protect from the sun.  Wear a hat, scarf or face covering and always wear waterproof gloves.  Also, it is wise to keep a change of clothes with you in case your existing clothes get wet.   Being wet can increase the rate of heat loss from the body.

Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to forget the simple importance of hydration when it is cold outside.  It’s not like the steamy summer months when we know we are sweating.  You still sweat—even in cold temperatures. For optimal performance, keep the body hydrated.

Breaks are Good

When the weather is particularly cold and/or windy, regular breaks are important.  If possible, take a break inside or under shelter where you can warm up a bit.  If it gets very cold, get inside and warm up.

Wear Good Shoes

Wear proper footwear when tackling winter weather.  A pair of water resistant and insulated boots with rubber treads is important for industrial winter safety.  Slow your pace and shorten your steps when navigating snowy/icy walkways.

Know the Signs

Frostbite and hypothermia can set in unexpectedly.  Get inside if you begin to experience either.  If a co-worker seems to be manifesting signs, help them get help immediately.  Be aware of those around you and take care of each other.

Proper Heat Ventilation

If using a non-electric heater, ensure that there is proper ventilation to let gasses like carbon monoxide escape.

Prepare for Winter Driving

Top off your fluids, drive slowly and allow yourself additional time to travel.  Pay attention to changing road conditions.

Clear the Pathsnow melting mat

Make sure that walkways, paths, stairs, and entries are free from snow and ice.  Do this as quickly as possible when a winter storm sets in.  Slips, trips, and falls will decrease dramatically when the path is clear.  Powerblanket offers a NEW method for clearing the path that does not use chemicals or salt, or require you to break your back shoveling.  Summerstep™ industrial snow melting mats use radiant heat technology to melt snow and ice on walkways, stairs and doorways, improving industrial winter safety.  Not only does Summerstep melt away the existing ice and snow, but as the storm continues, the path will stay clear as accumulating snow will instantly melt away.  Summerstep heated walkway mats can be linked together to match the length you need to ensure safe travels.  

Always use proper engineering controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) required by your employer in all work conditions.

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