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Winter is Coming: Preparing Your Site for Winter Weather

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preparing site cold

Despite an exceptionally mild start to Fall, living and working in the Northeast, we know it’s only a matter of time before the cold temperatures start to set in. While we may not all be looking forward to snow and ice, proactive preparation of your site for the cold months of winter will help keep your crew safe, costs down and delivery dates on-schedule.

Six tips to get your ready for the cold

Failing to plan is planning to fail, to make the process a bit easier, we’ve gathered six tips to help keep your site safe even in the coldest of weather conditions.

Getting the worksite ready:

  • Keep snow, ice and mud graded away from areas used to access buildings, trailers and travel around the project. When necessary, build and maintain gravel pathways to improve traction in and around these areas.
  • Pretreat areas that can become icy. Have rock salt and Kitty Litter/or deicer on hand ahead of time to be prepared. Rock salt helps melt ice on slippery surfaces while the Kitty Litter provides additional traction.
  • Ice and snow can accumulate quickly especially on elevated surfaces such as roofs and scaffolds. No one should work on raised surfaces covered with snow or ice.
  • Snow and ice could hide holes, impalement hazards and other potential things that can hurt you if you were to slip and fall. Good housekeeping and keeping materials organized on site will help reduce the potential for slips and falls in snow or icy conditions.

People are your biggest asset:

  • Provide workers well-insulated work gloves. Insulated gloves will allow them to keep their hands warm and out of their pockets while walking around the site. Continuously coach employees to keep their hands out of their pockets to improve balance while walking on icy or muddy conditions.
  • Hydration, Hydration, Hydration! Staying hydrated is just as important in the winter months as in the summer. Drinking water is the best way to keep hydrated. Don’t forget; you can still get dehydrated while performing strenuous work outside. Many people drink coffee versus water when it’s cold and, as we’ve learned caffeine increases your heart rate and accelerates dehydration.

A friendly reminder

We’ve previously covered the dangers of cold stress on workers; in fact, it is responsible for two-thirds of all weather-related fatalities. Remember to keep an eye for tell-tale signs of workers succumbing to symptoms like shivering, discoloration of the skin, and emphasize the importance of proper layering to help prevent sweating in the cold.

Related Course: 40-Hour Site Safety Manager Training

Do you have some tips to share with others in the industry? Send us your suggestions and share your war stories on our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages!