Construction projects don’t always come to a halt just because of bad weather conditions; if that were the case, most of us would go hungry all winter. Winter is often brutally cold, especially this year with temperatures reaching sub-zero through most of the eastern U.S. The cold temperatures put general contractors at risk of frostbite if proper safety precautions are not taken. We’ve discovered that under many circumstances winter construction safety means taking a proactive stance against potentially dangerous situations. Let’s take a look at several safety tips you can easily take out into the workplace.
Knowledge of Weather-Related Injuries: Everyone on the construction crew should know the tell-tale signs of frostbite and other weather related injuries. Hypothermia and frostbite have distinctive warning signs that need immediate attention.
Cold Weather Gear: Gloves, coats, boots, and other cold weather gear should always be worn on the construction site. This does not mean safety equipment shouldn’t also be worn.
Limit Exposure to the Elements: Frostbite can happen quickly and must be combated at every possible opportunity. Rain, freezing rain, and snow add their own measure of danger to the already-dangerously cold temperatures, because it’s very difficult to feel warm when your clothing and gloves are wet.
Portable Heaters: Nearly any type of portable heater can be used on site. The type of heater you use may be entirely dependent on the type of project you’re currently working on. You may, for example, choose to use a propane heater in an area with plenty of ventilation or an electric heater if there’s an enclosed area where workers can warm up occasionally.
Snow and Ice Removal: Snow and ice create serious safety hazards and should be cleared away from the work space regularly. Something as routine as carrying drywall into a client’s home becomes a potentially dangerous adventure when snow and ice are involved. Make sure to get snow and ice out of the way without creating new obstacles in the process.
Melt the Ice: Residential contractors have to be careful about any types of chemicals we use around a client’s home. Ask the homeowner about preferences, allergies, and such before you sprinkle salt or anything else to melt the ice.
Proper Supervision: Every member of the general contractor’s team should watch out for themselves and each other. Everyone should routinely check their work areas to ensure that everything is in proper working order and that conditions are good.
We all know that project planning is extremely important to the success of a general contractor. The ability to build on schedule and within budget is paramount to running a successful construction business. While homeowners may be understanding of weather issues, it’s still bad form to allow something like bad weather to interrupt your work schedule.
We hope these tips for winter safety for general contractors will help you maintain a safe and prosperous winter construction schedule. If you’re looking for more information about workplace safety, continued education, or how to get your general contractor’s license, call us at 800-680-0812 to discuss your needs. We have a 98% pass rate and a pass or don’t pay guarantee with our courses.