Winter Construction Work

Date: December 12, 2023

Nancy Rigby, BITCO Home Office Technical Specialist, Risk Control

Mitigate Winter Hazards on the Jobsite

Winter is upon us, and working in the cold weather can pose its own hazards for construction workers. From slippery surfaces to frostbite, it's important to be aware of the risks and take steps to minimize them. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the most common winter construction work hazards and offer tips to stay safe on the job.

Slips and Falls

Icy and snowy surfaces increase the risk of slips and falls. We recommend workers wear boots with good traction to avoid slipping on icy surfaces. Remember to keep walkways and work areas clear of snow and ice and use salt or sand to prevent slippery conditions.

Cold Stress

Exposure to cold temperatures can lead to conditions like hypothermia and frostbite. Ensure workers are dressed appropriately in layers to stay warm, and don't forget a good hat and gloves.

Break Areas

Set up designated warm break areas for workers to escape the cold. Provide hot beverages to keep spirits (and body temperature) high. Encourage workers to take regular breaks to warm up.

Equipment Issues

Another important consideration for winter construction work is protecting equipment from freezing temperatures. Cold weather can affect the performance of machinery. Conduct regular checks, use winter fluids, and allow enough time for equipment to warm up before operation.

Limited Daylight

Shorter days mean less daylight for construction work. Ensure the jobsite has proper lighting, and all workers should wear high-visibility clothing to increase visibility.

Reduced Visibility

Snow and fog can reduce visibility. Use reflective materials or other high-visibility markers to enhance visibility. Good communication is also important to ensure everyone is aware of their surroundings and can navigate the jobsite safely.

Frosty Surfaces

Frozen surfaces, including scaffolding and ladders, can be hazardous. Regularly inspect surfaces and remove any ice buildup.

Snow Accumulation 

Heavy snow can create additional loads on structures and roofs. Regularly remove snow to prevent overloading.

Icicles and Snow Falling

Melting and refreezing can lead to the formation of icicles, and snow accumulation on rooftops can pose a hazard during winter construction work. Regularly inspect the site for any potential hazards caused by winter weather, such as ice buildup on scaffolding.

Road Conditions

Traveling to and from the construction site can be challenging in winter. Plan for delays and ensure all workers are equipped for safe travel.

Emergency Response Challenges

Winter weather can complicate emergency response efforts. Cold weather can sometimes interfere with devices. We recommend having clear communication and evacuation plans in place, as well as an emergency kit on site with essentials like blankets, first aid supplies, and extra winter gear.

Proactive safety measures, proper training, and regular site inspections are crucial to mitigate hazards during winter construction work. Ensure workers are trained on winter-specific safety measures. For more safety tips, contact your local BITCO Risk Control Consultant. Click the button below to find an agent near you.

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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