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.protect critical construction materials
    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 compressor 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

 

How to Shovel Snow: Tips and Techniques

Little Boy in Warm Clothes Shoveling SnowIf you’ve spent even a few minutes behind a snow shovel, you know how exhausting and labor intensive removing snow can be. According to Harvard Medical School’s “Calories Burned…” chart, shoveling snow burns approximately 223 calories every 30 minutes (for a person weighing 155 lbs). That’s a serious workout! However, while shoveling snow can be an effective way to engage in healthy exercise, it can also lead to serious injury if it’s not approached carefully.  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. To help prevent any injuries, serious or minor, we’ve compiled the following “how-to” guide with plenty of shoveling tips and techniques:

Before Shoveling Snow:

  • Consider health risks. If you suffer from a heart condition, a bad back, or are out of shape, shoveling snow can be dangerous. Consider alternatives such as borrowing a snow blower or hiring a neighborhood teenager to shovel for you.
  • Wear proper footwear. You should wear shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry and with adequate traction that will help prevent any slips or falls.
  • Dress in layers. After a few minutes of shoveling, you’ll likely work up quite the sweat! Dress in layers that don’t restrict movement and will keep you warm, but can easily be removed as needed.
  • Stretch. Warming up your muscles, especially arms, legs, and back, will reduce the risk of injury.
  • Make sure you have a good shovel. An ergonomically designed snow shovel can greatly reduce strain on arms, legs, and back as you work. (Check out this list we compiled of top rated snow shovels)

Getting to Work!

  • Shovel early. Don’t let snow ice over before shoveling. This creates dangerous, slippery surfaces and significantly more work. Salt can be used to help break up ice, but causes damage to driveways and walkways.  
  • Shovel frequently. Don’t let snow accumulate more than a couple of inches before shoveling. It’s safer and much more effective to shovel small amounts more frequently through the day rather than a large amount all at once.
  • Clear deep snow a bit at a time. If you do find yourself facing deep snow, clear away just a couple of inches at a time. This will prevent overexertion and bodily strain.
  • Push. It’s far more effective to spend more time pushing than lifting. Use your shovel to push snow to the edge of your driveway or walkway then lift to designated snow pile.
  • Mind your posture. Keep your back straight and bend at the knees (not back!) when lifting.
  • Take breaks and drink water. As mentioned earlier, shoveling snow is hard physical labor! Never hesitate to take breaks as needed and drink plenty of water to replenish fluids.

Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

Summerstep Snow Melting Mat on Snow Covered Porch

An effective alternative to shoveling doorways and walkways is the Summerstep Snow Melting Mat. These 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.

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!

GARANT POLY SNOW SLED EPSS24U

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.

The Snowplow Poly Snow Pusher

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.

Aerocart Snow Plow

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.

Ames True Temper 1603400 Mountain Mover Snow Shovel

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.

Ames True Temper 20" Polypropylene Combo Shovel with VersaGrip

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 summerstep snow melting mats

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.

Winter Safety Tips

Winter work injuries

In preparation for the winter months, it’s important to consider what measures you will take to exercise proper safety precautions in both your home and commercial or industrial workplace.  During 2014, the United States Department of Labor recorded 42,480 workplace injuries and illnesses involving ice, sleet, or snow that required at least one day away from work to recuperate. Of these reported incidents, 82% resulted from slips or falls on level ground (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Planning and preparing can save you significant money in the long run and prevent serious injuries. We suggest you consider the following winter safety tips as you plan how you will best maintain a safe environment at your home or workplace during cold, snowy, or icy weather.

Home Safety

Before winter months hit, it’s important to check that your home is prepared. Damage from frozen pipes or faulty heating systems can be expensive and even deadly.

  • Check that your home is properly insulated (walls and attic), that you have adequate storm windows, and that windows and doors are caulked.
  • Have your heating systems professionally checked and serviced. It’s important that they are clean, working properly and ventilate to the outside.
  • Make sure you are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and are familiar with the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  • Remove tree branches that could become heavy with ice or snow and fall on your home.
  • If possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • To protect exposed pipes, allow a small trickle of water run from connected faucets.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature day and night and leave it set to no lower than 55°F while away from home for an extended time. The extra cost of heating your home is minuscule in comparison to the expensive cost of damages from frozen or burst pipes.
  • If your home has a fireplace, use a glass or metal screen to prevent sparks or even rollings logs from making their way to flammable carpet or furniture.
  • When using a space heater, follow the three-foot rule- keep any surrounding items at least three feet away from your heater.
  • Before going to bed, make sure any space heaters are turned off and fire embers are fully extinguished.

Workplace Safety

It’s never a good idea to cut corners when it comes to safety during snowy or icy winter months. This is especially true when you have a responsibility for the safety of your employees and patrons. Taking extra time to plan and create a safe work environment will prevent injury and keep your workday running smoothly.

  • If you work at a commercial retail property, it’s important to keep in mind that the last months of the year will likely be some of your busiest. During these periods of larger crowds, it’s more important than ever to keep walkways clear of pallets, boxes, or other items. Remember: safety first!
  • Take extra time to keep floors clean and dry. Any snow that gets tracked into your workplace can quickly create a dangerously slippery surface.
  • Use “wet floor” signs where necessary.
  • Provide adequate lighting in your workplace that will help illuminate any wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Encourage employees to wear slip-resistant footwear.
  • If you are working on a project outdoors, review your work site safety every day. Surfaces can become dangerously slippery overnight.
  • Schedule outside work in shorter increments and break up large projects into smaller tasks.
  • Establish a warm area for employees to take breaks from outside work.
  • Keep track of weather forecasts. The last thing you want is for your employees to be stuck working outside in a terrible snow storm or severely cold temperatures.
  • Ensure that employees wear appropriate clothing for outside work such as a wind resistant coat or jacket, a hat, scarf, mittens, and waterproof boots.
  • Make sure that employees stay dry. Wet clothing loses its ability to insulate and quickly transmits cold temperatures to the body.
  • Be familiar with and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and get immediate medical attention for any symptoms.
  • Sprinkle icy surfaces with sand to provide traction or salt to melt the ice.

 

Avoid Slip and Fall Accidents

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 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.

Get the Summerstep Winter Safety Guide

Commercial Snow Removal

Commercial Snow and Ice RemovalShoveling Snow

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.

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Snow Removal Mistakes

After a heavy snow, it is important to remove the snow from walkways, driveways, and stairs as soon as possible in order to avoid ice buildup and reduce slips and falls. Save yourself time, effort, money, and a few fingers by preparing early for winter storms.  Proper planning prevents poor performance.  Read on to avoid common snow removal mistakes.

Mistake #1:  Cluttered Yard

Sometimes snow comes unexpectedly, but most often there is a weather report that will warn of the impending arrival.  Prepare for the snow by preparing your yard before it arrives.  A mistake many make is not securing or stowing away yard accessories that will become camouflaged after the snow.  Hoses, garden shovels/tools, outdoor decor, childrens’ toys will all cause chaos in a snow blower if you forget where they were before the snow.  This mistake will damage the yard object and possibly your snow blower.  

Mistake #2:  Not Respecting the Snow Blower


Man snow blowing sidewalkFor those who experience exceptional snowfall each year, a snow blower is critical for winter snow removal.  Snow blowers save time and prevent many of the injuries associated with snow shoveling; however, a tool with the capacity to shoot snow across your drive can be extremely hazardous if not used properly.  It is obvious that no one should put their hand in an active snow blower and that the whirling blades are very dangerous, but what about when the
snow blower is powered off?

A researcher at the University of Arkansas may have cracked the code. Dr. Bart Hammig’s recent study of more than 30,000 snow blower injuries found a source of hidden power that can lurk, even when an operator presence switch, or “Dead man’s switch,” has been invoked and the power to blades cut off.  The problem often starts the same way: with a clogged machine.  Wet snow can easily clog a snowblower and frustrate the user. Sticks don’t always work to dislodge the snow, and that is when thousands of people every year resort to the worst idea:

“They stick their hand down the chute and try to dislodge the snow. And that is when severe injuries occur,” he explained.

How can that happen, when power to the blades is off? Dr. Hammig’s research shows that inside all that clogged snow, rotational force is built up, enough to do damage even when the engine is cut completely off.

It’s something many users have never heard.

“And we know when that’s dislodged, it can actually rotate a quarter or a half a turn, which would probably be enough to do damage,” said Hammig.

Mistake #3:  Overexertion

While snow shoveling is 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:

  • Individuals over the age of 40 and/or those who are relatively inactive, should be especially careful.Shoveling snow
  • Avoid shoveling after eating or while smoking.
  • If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a doctor’s permission.
  • 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.
  • Slow Down!  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.
  • 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.

 Summerstep Snow Melting Mats

Powerblanket®, the leader in total temperature control solutions, now offers Summerstep™ heated door, stair, and walkway snow melting mats that use radiant heat to clear your path of ice and snow. These mats are heavy-duty snow melting, safety mats designed to melt snow and ice to prevent accumulation on stairs and walkways. They melt snow and ice on contact and create a safe walkway in even the coldest winter conditions.  Summerstep snow melting mats help prevent accidents due to slipping and falling that could cause delays, decreased productivity, or increased costs in areas with heavy foot traffic: universities, hospitals, industrial sites, etc. Designed to be outside throughout the winter, Summerstep mats stop the accumulation of additional snow and ice, reducing time and labor intensive snow removal and eliminating  the use of  any harsh melting agents. Customize your Summerstep snow melting system with connectable mats to cover any space.

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

 

Sources

“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/

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

Thousands Injured by Powered-Down Snow Blowers | NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business/target-5-snowblower-injury-138621664.html#ixzz4XdprT3GP

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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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