Construction Site Hazards During Winter
Every year winter weather in the UK has the potential to hit hard with freezing temperatures, strong winds, snow, ice and rain. All these environmental elements can cause hazards for those working on a construction site. The weather during the winter is out of our control and completely unpredictable, that’s why it’s important to take necessary precautions on-site and ensure construction workers stay safe during these months.
What are some construction site dangers in winter?
Cold stress is a serious condition that happens when the body can’t maintain its temperature. As temperatures fall near or below freezing, it becomes increasingly dangerous to a person’s health, and the likelihood of cold stress occurring increases.
During the winter, skin and internal body temperatures drop, and wet weather can make the skin damp. Increasing an individual’s chance of heat loss and not being able to warm up, particularly if there are no warm areas. Some serious illnesses that can happen this time of year include: trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia.
This is one of the most common accidents to happen on a construction site. It’s not exclusive to the winter and can happen all year round. However, there is an increased risk this time of year due to wet, icy and slippery surfaces. Surfaces such as scaffolding, ladders, walkways, stairs and work platforms become cold. If not treated correctly, these can present a hazard to construction workers and cause them to fall or slip, sometimes from height. This can lead to greater injuries such as fractures, broken bones, serious injuries and even death.
On-site driving accidents
By this we don’t just mean accidents that happen on the roads, driving accidents can also happen on construction sites. Not only is there winter weather conditions to contend with, but also it can be easy to forget that winter driving rules still apply. Construction vehicles aren’t as agile as cars due to their size and weight.
How to prevent winter hazards?
As with most hazards, it is always advisable to limit your exposure, shield certain work areas from the harsh winter weather and try to protect construction workers wherever possible.
- Keep updated on weather reports
- Shield areas that could be hit badly by the weather
- Create warm break areas for workers
- Schedule outside work to be carried out in short durations
- Provide the correct gear so workers are well insulated and protected
- Educate staff on working safely in bad weather
- Continuously check the site for any new hazards
If you’d like to find out more about our scaffolding services, please call our expert team on 01675 465 593 or fill out our simple online contact form and one of our team will be in touch.