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

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.

Industrial Winter Safety

Industrial Winter Safety

shutterstock_220815247Stay 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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