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

The Art of the Slip and Fall

The Art of the Slip and Fall

When it comes to winter time, many people think of the holidays and the magical atmosphere that accompanies snow. For others, it is an inconvenience that needs to cease as quickly as possible. One thing that we can all agree on is that slipping and falling is no fun, at least for you. Now watching others do it is another story. As long as no one gets seriously injured we can all sit back, enjoy the show, and thank the gods of winter for video cameras.

Basketfall

via GIPHY

Ladies and gentlemen, the next Steph Curry.

Crossing Guard

via GIPHY

Can we get a guard for the crossing guard?

I Like Turtles

via GIPHY

Such a great ‘turtle on its back impression’. Get that man a prize!

Sidewalk or Slidewalk

via GIPHY

Ouch! Breaking face! I mean news…

9/10

via GIPHY

This one is actually a bit graceful, and I hope the gentlemen behind her rushed to her aid.

Great Flail

via GIPHY

Sometimes you just gotta take a moment.

Couples Therapy

via GIPHY

Misery loves company, right?

Snow Shoveling Fun

via GIPHY

Points for shovel throw and distance.

It’s Still Funny in Black and White

via GIPHY

Losing groceries on top of humiliation makes for a bad day.

 

We’ve all had one of those cringe-worthy moments where you hope no one was around to see it, much less record it.  Navigate the slippery slope with safety.  We wish you the best as temperature drops.

Best Snow Shovels

With so many snow removal products on the market, it can be difficult to decide which will best get the job done. In preparation for upcoming winter weather, we’ve compiled a list of the best available snow shovels based on ease of use, durability, and effectiveness. We hope this will help you decide which option will best meet your needs!

1. Garant: Poly Snow Sled, EPSS24U
$57.99, ebay

The Garant Poly snow sled features an easy-to-push, light-weight design and deep sides that allow for the easy removal of large amounts of snow. Once full, loads of snow can be easily transported by tilting up the shovel and pushing to the desired destination. Users praise this shovel for it’s easy to use design that significantly reduces strain on arms, shoulders, and back.

2. The Snowplow Poly Snow Pusher, 48″
$64.99, acme tools

Above all, users love the Snowplow Poly Snow Pusher for its high-quality, durable construction. This shovel will hold up against even the heaviest, wettest snowfall– no bending or breaking! While not ideal for lifting snow, It’s perfect for pushing snow to the edges of driveways and other large surfaces without leaving damage. Because this shovel is so wide, it may quickly become heavy as it’s filled with snow.

3. Aerocart Snow Plow
$38.81, the home depot

Like the first two shovels listed, the Aerocart Snow Plow is designed for “pushing” snow rather than shoveling and lifting. Like other shovels, the push design saves shoulders and backs from excessive strain. This snow plow features an easy to assemble design. Because the sides of this shovel are open (no “wall” on the edge) snow begins to fall out once it becomes full, making it best for use during lighter snow falls.

4. Ames True Temper 1603400 Mountain Mover Snow Shovels, Combo-Ergonomic, 18 Inch Blade
$31.67, plumbersstock.com

This smaller shovel is designed for shoveling and lifting snow and features an ergonomically curved handle designed to reduce back strain. The Ames True Temper Mountain Mover is lightweight, yet sturdy. The blade of the shovel is reinforced with a sturdy strip rather than metal; this prevents damage a metal strip may inflict on cars and other sensitive surfaces.

5. Ames True Temper 20″ Polypropylene Combo Shovel W/ VersaGrip
$22.75, Global Industrial

The Ames True Temper Polypropylene Combo Shovel is not designed to be lightweight, but is perfect for breaking through ice or packed snow. The edge features a sturdy metal blade. The handle is slightly bent which reduces how far you have to bend over to lift snow.

Snow Shovel Alternative

An alternative to a snow shovel is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat. Summerstep heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury and even a lawsuit. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

Stats of Winter-Related Injuries

Cold winter months and the accompanying icy or snowy weather is an especially important time to consider workplace safety precautions. The increased risk of injury due to cold temperatures, ice or snow is indisputable.  According to the CDC, winter weather kills more than twice as many Americans than summer heat. Keeping yourself aware of the increased risk cold weather brings will help as you plan to prevent winter-related injuries and keep yourself and employees safe.

Winter-Related Injuries Involving Vehicles

If you or others are regularly behind the wheel during winter months, consider the increased risk of driving in snowy or icy conditions demonstrated by the following  statistics:

Other Winter-Related Injuries

Furthermore, consider the risk of slips, falls and other injuries that occur during work done in cold, snowy, or icy weather:

  • 1 million Americans are injured due to slip and fall injuries annually. The risk of slip and fall injuries increases dramatically during winter months.
  • Slips and falls are not the main cause of fatal workplace injuries, however, they represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • In 2014, there were 42,480 workplace injuries or illnesses from ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day off of work as a result.
  • From the above injuries, 34,860, or 82 percent, were due to slips or falls on level ground.
  • Between 1990 and 2006, approximately 195,000 people in the U.S. were treated in a hospital emergency room because of injuries acquired during snow shoveling.
  • Approximately 1,301 Americans die from hypothermia annually.

 

If you or your employees are at risk for acquiring winter-related injuries, it’s important to properly plan against them. An effective solution to keeping steps, doorways and walkways safe and ice-free is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat.   Summerstep heated mats are designed to be left outside all winter long, can be custom made to fit any location, and will melt approximately 2 inches of snow per hour while operating. It eliminates time-consuming shoveling and de-icing and prevents slips that could cause serious injury. To save time and hassle, and for added peace of mind, consider making Summerstep heated mats a part of your winter safety precautions.

Commercial Snow Removal

Commercial Snow and Ice Removal

When it comes to commercial snow removal, proactive, preventative planning is the best way to go. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “ An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Last-minute scrambling to remove snow and ice is chaotic and can be unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, a reactive approach to snow removal leads to excessive use of snow and ice melting agents including rock salt and other chemicals that are harmful to concrete, roadways, and the environment. Preventative snow and ice control will also significantly reduce the risk of personal injury and damage to property. This includes damage to property caused by icy driveways, personal injury from slip and fall accidents, accidents that occur from snow or ice falling off rooftops, and damage or injury resulting from falling tree branches.

Know the Rules

Before establishing a snow and ice removal plan for your commercial property, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the snow and ice removal laws for your municipality and city. Laws vary from state to state and your snow and ice control plan will need to address these laws. Additionally, you will want to ensure you are insured in case a litigation does arise.

Some commercial property owners or managers may wish to partner with professional snow and ice removal services. If this is the route you choose to go, begin looking for a contractor as early as possible, near the end of summer or beginning of fall. Make certain that your chosen contractor has the necessary tools, staff, insurance, and availability to meet your needs.

Make a Plan

When constructing a commercial snow removal plan, it’s suggested that a detailed, step-by-step guide is written out and followed unfailingly. Moreover, you may want to consider documenting adherence to your plan; this will prove beneficial should a legal accusation arise.

Some elements you may want to contemplate incorporating into your commercial snow and ice control plan include:

  • Purchase all necessary equipment and supplies and service any snow blowers before winter.
  • Clearly define responsibility regarding snow removal in any leases involved with your commercial property.
  • Keep an eye on weather predictions.
  • Pre-treat surfaces when snow or ice is expected.
  • Check for any leaks in gutters and downspouts that could result in dangerous ice patches.
  • Remove ice and snow from all sidewalks and driveways surrounding your property.
  • Do not let snow accumulate to more than 3 inches.
  • Confirm that your facility has proper lighting.
  • Make routine inspections of your property throughout the day.

Try Summerstep

An efficient and convenient way to prevent ice and snow accumulation during winter weather is Summerstep Snow Melting Mats. Summerstep Snow Melting Mats can reduce the need for time and labor intensive snow removal and the use of harsh chemicals. Summerstep Snow Melting Mats are designed to be outside throughout the winter and can be custom designed to fit any location. With Summerstep Snow Melting Mats, you can keep your property accessible and running smoothly during even the harshest winter months.