As we all return to work following the Festive Break and Brace ourselves for Working in Cold Weather, it's crucial to think about Safety on your Construction Site.
Construction Sites Large or Small will have the same potential hazards with the UK's Volatile Winter Weather officially being with us for the next couple of months.
The fast-paced UK Construction Industry continues to Build throughout the Winter Weather, with hardy Construction Workers on Construction Sites Nationwide continuing to commit to Maintaining and Building Year Round.
Whilst Construction Workers are known to be resilient and can quickly adapt to new Hazards, it's vital they can work safely on site.
Construction Industry Workers
If you are working on a Construction Site during Cold Temperatures there are lots to consider.
Whilst there are no official Laws regarding working outside in Low or High Temperatures, there are many Outdoor Working Recommendations and Guidelines for Employers, Employees and Self Employed Construction Workers.
As the Temperature Drops, it's crucial Workers on Constructions Sites are Properly Protected.
Cold Stress is common when an individual is exposed to Cold Temperatures, especially from Strong Winds and Wet Conditions.
The effects of Cold Stress are Extremely Dangerous with the extra Potential Hazards whilst On Site.
Our Bodies work Harder during Freezing Temperatures to retain Body Heat.
If Extra Caution is not taken, the Body Temperature will continue to fall where Heat cannot be retained and can Cause Serious Illnesses and potential On Site Injury.
Other effects of Cold Stress include symptoms of Hyperthermia such as Fatigue and Confusion, and if not treated quickly, Hyperthermia can set in.
The good news is there are lots of Prevention Measures that will ensure safety measures are in place and avoid onsite injuries.
When Winter hits, Employers should Encourage Employees working on Construction Sites to ensure they are Wearing the Correct Gear.
Warm Clothes should be made up of at Least Three Layers.
The Layers should be comfortable and adaptable during Freezing Temperatures and allow Workers to remove and add Layers during Temperature Changes whilst ensuring they retain Body Heat.
A Workers Typical Three Layer of Clothes will be
- Thermal Underwear or a Fast Wicking Base Layer
- Fleece or Knitwear again with Moisture Wicking Qualities
- Waterproof and Windproof Outer Safety Clothing
And don't forget your normal Safety Wear, including Warm Hats and Safety Gloves for Cold Hands, Hard Hats, Waterproof Boots and Reflective Jackets.
As the saying goes, "Preparation is the Key to Success", so remember to plan and ensure you have the correct gear for your workday on your Construction Site, which will ensure you stay warm and stay safe when the weather turns against you.
Cold Weather Construction Sites
Site Safety is always important, but during the Winter Weather taking precautions further is essential to avoiding Accidents and protecting Workers Occupational Health.
More Reported Injuries Happen during Winter, so what can you do to Stay Safe, Keep Employees Safe and Prevent Accidents.
Your Construction Site is Safe Secure, and your Precautions Ensure Workers are protected as much as possible from Accidents.
But, Along comes Winter, and your Construction Site begins to look a Little Different.
There are more Slippery Surfaces on Site caused by Falling Leaves, Rain, Frost, Ice and Snow.
Long Periods of Lower Light Levels, means you know Winter is here, and some Changes to Reduce the Risk on Site are needed.
A Construction Site Winter Plan is essential for all active and non active Construction Sites.
Some simple but not exhaustive steps include
- Ensure Workers are not at Risk
- Provide a Warm Rest Area for Workers with Hot Drinks
- Allow Workers Extra Breaks when Needed during Extreme Weather
- Ensure Grit and Salt is Available for Slippery Conditions
- Implement Winter Driving Rules for Construction Vehicles
- Workers Keeping Clear of Vehicles unloading Heavy Goods such as Bricks and Blocks
- Additional Lighting to Reduce Risk during Low Light Conditions
- Temporary Drainage to avoid Flooding
- Protecting Building Supplies and Tools
- Regular Inspections of Work Platforms
Ensuring Workers also understand Winter Safety Rules is essential.
Your Construction Site may also need some extra precautions to protect the General Public as well.
You may have Temporary Building Site Fencing.
It is likely this Temporary Fencing will need extra Inspections, More Ballast to Combat Strong Winds and Additional Lighting.
All Construction Sites will be different, and we would always recommend referring to Health and Safety in the Construction Industry.
And Finally, a Big Thank you to all our Construction Workers in the UK who Keep Britain Building even when it's Cold Outside!