Cold Weather Precautions to Remember

Winter can be the most dangerous season for construction crews to work in. Creating safe work environments and gearing up with the appropriate clothing and knowledge will help safely tackle construction work through the winter season.

A safe working environment is key to preventing slips, trips, and falls caused by weather hazards. A few tips for enhancing the safety on the jobsite during winter include:

  • Having snow cleared before work begins for the day
  • De-icing your work areas with sand or salt and continue to de-ice throughout the day if necessary
  • Ensure hazards hidden by snow are well-marked (holes, slippery surfaces, excavations, etc.)
  • Have snow cleared throughout the day as it piles up
  • When clearing snow with a shovel, encourage push motions rather than lift motions to reduce lower back strain
  • Keep jobsite access roads clear
  • Be aware of inclines and surfaces that easily become slippery, such as scaffolding and wooden ramps

Dressing appropriately for the winter elements is another key for team members to safely work in cold environments. Along with the proper PPE onsite, the following are clothing recommendations to follow before heading into the cold:

  • Inner layers of clothing that are insulating and outer layers that are waterproof and windproof
  • Gloves that are rated for cold temperatures
  • Headwear that covers ears (30-50% of body heat is lost through the head)
  • Waterproof footwear, such as boots with rubber tread, that aren’t too snug fitting with layered socks
  • Two layers of socks with polypropylene material socks as the first layer, and wool as the second layer to keep moisture away from the skin
  • Have spare boots and apparel in case your winter gear becomes wet

A few other tips for staying safe working outdoors in the winter weather are:

  • Schedule the more labor-intensive tasks during the warmest part of the day if possible
  • Be mindful of ladder placement – ladders should never be placed on ice
  • Have a heated break area to take shelter in
  • Warm up equipment and tools beforehand when possible
  • Use light towers to help make sites safer by increasing visibility, especially in winter months with shorter daylight

Lastly, watch out for one another! These tips will ensure you will enjoy a productive winter while staying safe and warm.