Winter conditions on the job site call for special safety measures – our quick guide protects construction workers and equipment during adverse weather.
When the clocks go back and the days go darker earlier, it is imperative that you remain safe and warm at work.
Did you know that between 2011 and 2012, 1.1 million working people suffered from work-related illnesses, 173 workers were killed at work, and 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illnesses and workplace injuries?
Winter brings with it chilly conditions and high winds, so all builders and workers need to ensure that the right procedures are in place to avoid a disaster occurring.
Peter Black, HSE Principal Inspector of Construction, says, “For those working outdoors, the winter months bring additional challenges to keeping safe. Cold weather and shorter periods of daylight mean there is more potential for accidents to happen. With a little planning, and common sense, these can be avoided.”
Working at a great height involves a high risk of falling. Whether you are working on a new build or performing repairs, demolition, or maintenance, here is a guide to help you combat winter conditions on the construction site.
Safety netting/fall-arrest harness systems
In 2012 a roofing company was fined after it admitted to breaching regulations. An investigation by HSE found that an indented corner in the roof had been left unprotected from safety netting. The consequence? One of the tradesmen suffered a fractured pelvis and a shattered heel.
Winter often brings gale-force winds that can be treacherous for people working at great heights. Reduce the risk with equipment that minimizes the distance, should a fall occur.
Are all the scaffolds protected against harsh weathering such as snow, ice, and hail? Tighten all the bolts. Are there any water supplies on site? Make sure they do not freeze and that heaters are adequately ventilated.
Erecting edge protection
This is the ideal work equipment to use on a construction site to prevent a fall from happening. Put preventative measures in place such as work-restraint systems or use a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) to carry out the work. Examples of adequate edge protections include a main guard rail at least 950 mm (approximately 37.4”) above the edge, and a toe board, and brick guard to stop objects from flying off.
If the weather is so severe that it will endanger your health, do not carry out any work. Ice, rain, and wind are dangerous weather conditions.
To work safely in the winter you need to have the right skills, experience, and training. If workers on the job site do not have the right training, they should be supervised at all times. Prevent unauthorized access to the job site.
The harsh weather conditions can damage construction equipment’s efficiency and operation, so if there are diggers, cranes, and telehandlers, make sure that they are regularly cleaned so operators and drivers can clearly see through the windows and windshields, and so the vehicle is plainly visible.
Lone worker’s procedure
If any workers on the site work alone, make sure that a procedure is in place for health and safety. What would happen if a lone worker slipped in the dark and broke his leg in a remote location? Someone must be responsible for ensuring that all workers return home safely at the end of the day, even if by simply “calling in.”
If workers are exposed to vibrations from power tools, they need to wear gloves, waterproofs, and a hat so that they stay warm and dry and to improve their blood circulation. Encourage workers to exercise and massage their fingers during work breaks.
Follow this guide to have a safe and secure construction site this winter.
My Redland Roof owns seven factories around Britain, as well as a dedicated technical center, and we have access to the most advanced product testing facilities in Europe. My Redland Roof can justifiably claim to be the leader in roofing know-how. Throughout our 90-year history, we have concentrated on developing the best roofing material to turn that aim into reality.Website: www.myredlandroof.co.uk/