With dark nights, threats of snow and gale force winds, winter is truly upon us. And with the winter conditions comes an increased risk of construction site accidents which can be disastrous, costly and even fatal.
If you run a construction site, there are various things you can do to protect your business, staff and bottom line this season. Here, we’ve put together a list of the top
Carry out a daily risk assessment
Winter weather is particularly unpredictable, and waking up with a thick blanket of snow or frost is not uncommon. Therefore, it’s important that you or a member of your team does a thorough site risk assessment at the start of each working day, and if necessary preventative measures are put in place.
Make sure your staff are trained on winter illnesses
If your team is outside for long periods of time, they can be at risk for illnesses like pneumonia, hypothermia and frostbite. Make sure you give your staff thorough training on winter illnesses and what they can do to protect themselves, such as wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and flagging things that might cause potential problems.
Encourage staff to swap settings
If your team is working on a building project that is part inside and part out, encourage them to swap settings occasionally to let their other team members warm up. If possible, try and offer them hot drinks on their breaks or encourage them to go to a café.
Use the right products
Each year, slippery scaffolding causes hundreds of accidents and fatalities. Keep your scaffolding safe by using de-icing products and grit, and make sure your team are wearing the correct boots with a good level of traction on.
Train vehicle users on winter driving
If your workers are using vehicles like cranes, diggers or pickers, make sure they know how to operate them in wintery conditions. Menaces like snow and ice can easily cause freak accidents, and it’s often these types of vehicles that play a part.
Provide the right PPE
HSE statistics reveal that autumn and winter see the highest number of slip and trip accidents. This is because of the increase in wet, muddy, icy environments and darker days. Providing your team with the correct safety footwear that features enhanced slip resistance can help protect them. Furthermore, other PPE like thermal coats, gloves, hats and work trousers can go some way in protecting them against the perils of the cold weather.
Protect your site too
It’s not only your workers who are more at risk during the winter months, your site is too. That’s because darker nights mean potential intruders can move around undetected, or even take shelter. Putting up site hoarding can be a very effective way of protecting your site and its contents, and scaffold alarms can be a good deterrent to trespassers who might not be afraid to brave the icy planks.