Residential contractors face many winter construction hazards throughout the coldest months of the year. Construction can’t simply come to an end just because the weather isn’t agreeable. We’ve put together the following list of winter construction hazards that affect project management to help you plan ahead for the winter months. Let’s look at some of those now.
You simply can’t fight Mother Nature, so you have to compensate. Allow extra time in the building process to compensate for snowstorms, strong winds, and other things that put your crew in harm’s way. You can’t always call off work in the middle of a project, but serious conditions may require it. Always plan for a few extra days to complete winter projects, and make sure homeowners know that you won’t endanger your crew on extremely bad days.
Contractors spend quite a bit of time in a vehicle whether it’s driving to the job site or making trips to the local hardware for supplies. Make sure all company vehicles are equipped with a window scraper, snow brush, shovel, and kitty litter in case they become stuck. All vehicles should also contain a winter survival kit.
Exterior residential construction adds a new layer of danger for contractors. Scaffolds, ladders, and similar surfaces become very slick during bad weather. Make sure all frozen surfaces are properly de-iced and that all workers take extra precautions when using them.
Light and fluffy snow doesn’t seem so hazardous, right? You generally don’t have to worry about a light snow, but heavy snows are a different story altogether. Snow packed onto the rooftop adds a lot of weight to the supporting beams and creates a hazard for people working outside the home as well. Make sure your crew understands the potential dangers involved with snow sliding off of the roof similar to an avalanche.
Icicles are generally a sign that the guttering around the home isn’t working properly or they may indicate the presence of an ice dam. Take all precautions with icicles because they can be very dangerous. Remove and dispose of them whenever possible before work begins.
Hypothermia is considered a medical emergency in which a person’s body temperature drops below that required to maintain metabolism and body functions. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures is the number one cause of hypothermia. Make sure that all of the members of your construction crew understand the signs and symptoms so they may watch out for themselves and others as well.
Many believe that dehydration occurs only during the summer months. Unfortunately, it can also occur during the winter months. The required extra layers of clothing hold in the heat necessary to combat hypothermia and frostbite, but they also promote perspiration, increasing the chances of dehydration.
Proper Education and Preparedness
Continued education is extremely important to all types of business, especially construction. Simply obtaining your contractor’s license isn’t going to keep you in business in the long run. You have to maintain your expertise and knowledge in the field so you can better help homeowners with all of their residential construction needs. If we can help you obtain your general contractors license or assist with the continued education of your crew members, call us at 800-860-0812.