8 Safety Tips When Working in Winter

2nd January, 2019

Do not let the harsh winter obstruct your construction work. Be prepared for the season with the following safety tips.

1. Examine the Work Site for Safety Hazards

Inspect the roofs, pathways and structures such as scaffolding and ladders for snow and ice and clear them immediately.

Use a mix of salt and sand to melt icy patches to provide improved traction. Where ice, snow or icicles can’t be cleared, install warning signs to instruct workers to stay away from such areas.

Perform a preliminary check for any fallen trees and electric lines before work begins.

2. Ensure that your Workers are Warm Enough to Beat the Cold

Set up a heated break room where workers can warm themselves up. This area can be a trailer, an indoor room or a tent. Encourage your workers to take frequent breaks to get warmed up.

Advise immediate change of clothes if they get wet.

Encourage them to consume warm liquids. However, put a limit on the intake of substances that contain caffeine and other such stimulants. They speed up the heart rate and make workers feel they are warm when in reality they are not.

3. Have Workers Wear Winter-Appropriate Clothing

Use layers of clothing to ensure adequate warmth. Wear inner layers that can keep moisture away from the inside to the outer layer. Ensure that the outer layer is waterproof so that moisture stays away from your body.

4. Have Workers Wear Essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Ensure workers wear hard hats to prevent injuries to the head that can be caused by slip-and-trip accidents and sharp falling objects such as icicles. Hard hats with a lining are recommended as they prevent heat from escaping from the head, which keeps the wearer warm.

Gloves and mittens are crucial if workers are going to use metal structures such as scaffolding, ladders and tools. If workers constantly work while handling cold metal with unprotected hands, they are at high risk of getting frostbite.

Waterproof boots with slip-resistant soles, extra socks, safety glasses and face masks are also a part of essential PPE.

If you are using personal fall-arrest systems, ensure that they fit your body properly and that the straps aren’t frozen. Do so each time you use these systems and make sure to triple check the wearer is clipped onto the safety line.

Ensure that workers are wearing their essential PPE at all times whilst on the work site.

5. Have Equipment and Tools Warmed Up

Extreme cold can damage plant equipment and their components. Electrical hoses and wires, for example, can become brittle due to extreme cold. It is important to warm up the equipment before they can be used.

Fluids in air compressors must be drained after every use to prevent freezing. If you are using equipment with hydraulic and engine oils, ensure that the oil is compatible with temperatures in your region.

Use antifreeze tool lubricants for air hoses and pneumatic tools to prevent them from freezing up. If you are using nail guns, fire them empty at 40PSI to warm them up.

6. Be Well-Informed about the Weather

Being well-informed about the weather enables you to take precautions beforehand. If the weather is set to take a turn for the worse, then get your workers out of the area after securing it appropriately.

7. Include a Winter Emergency Kit in Every Work Vehicle

In areas of more extreme weather, think about equipping vans/cars with emergency winter kits. The winter emergency kit should have an ice scraper and snow brush, shovel, sleeping bag, a mobile phone backup battery, and food items such as water, non-perishable snacks such as protein bars.

8. Use Reliable Plant Machinery

Effective winter protection begins with reliable machinery. When it comes to plant machinery hire and sales, trust MTS Plant.

With 30+ years of experience, we offer a range of plant machinery, including excavators, skid steers tracked loaders, telehandlers and attachments. We offer complete backup and support for machinery hire and sales.

Looking to book plant hire for your next project or thinking about purchasing a new machine for your fleet? Reach out to MTS Plant today, we are here to help.

Tel: 08000 156 555

Email: info@mtsplant.co.uk