Falls are already one of the most common accidents at construction sites, but working outdoors during the winter can create even more hazards. Fortunately, there are ways to compensate for these additional risks and keep employees as safe as possible.
While conducting operations during winter conditions, take the following precautions:
- Keep surfaces clear. Slips, trips and falls are some of the leading causes of workplace injuries across all industries. Even falls while simply walking across the ground of a worksite can result in serious injuries. Ensure ice, snow and other winter hazards are cleared from all surfaces employees will be operating on.
- Avoid rushing. Winter conditions can cause a job to take longer. Fluctuating temperatures, reduced daylight and cold-weather attire can lead to increased danger and decreased productivity. By budgeting additional time for work to be completed, employers can ensure tasks are done correctly and employees are kept safe.
- Consider ladder placement. Ladders are a familiar fixture on construction sites, but extra care should be taken with them during the winter. Snow and ice must be removed from not only the rungs, but the entire device. Additionally, ladders must be placed on a completely clean, entirely stable surface. Even slight frost can cause the base of a ladder to slip and lead to a serious accident.
- Account for equipment. Proper use of gear is a key part of safety. This is particularly true during the winter, when water-resistant boots with nonslip tread can protect workers from frostbite and hypothermia, as well as slips and falls. Employers should also inspect other equipment for necessary adjustments. For example, personal fall arrest systems may fit differently during winter due to workers wearing additional layers.
For more information on employee safety, contact us today.