Construction workers face numerous hazards when working outdoors, and the risks can increase during winter when the cold temperatures and snow pose additional challenges.
Some situations can increase the risk to construction workers in cold weather.
Dangerous Driving Conditions
During winter, the roads can be treacherous. Snow, ice, and slush can make it harder to control your vehicle, especially when driving a larger vehicle, such as a construction truck. You should take extra time to get to your job site, slow down, leave plenty of space between cars, and avoid sudden movements to prevent sliding or skidding.
Lack of Personal Protective Gear
Cold weather can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and other cold-related illnesses, so wearing warm personal protective gear is essential. Your outfit should include multiple layers of warm clothing, a hat, gloves, and sturdy boots with good traction.
You should also have access to high-visibility clothing to ensure you’re visible to other workers and motorists on the job site. Lack of personal protective gear can increase the risk to workers and may show negligence by your employer.
Access to Hydration
Staying hydrated is as important in cold weather as it is in warm weather. Even though you may not feel thirsty, drinking plenty of fluids is essential to avoid dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, and other health problems.
It’s best to drink warm, non-alcoholic beverages and avoid caffeine, as they can dehydrate you. You can also eat warm, high-energy foods like soup and hot cereal to help keep your body warm.
No Rest Breaks
To prevent overexposure to the cold, it’s essential to take regular breaks in warm, dry places. This can help you maintain your body temperature and avoid hypothermia. You should be allowed to take frequent breaks in heated trailers, break rooms, or other enclosed spaces that provide shelter from the cold.
If you don’t have access to a heated space, you can use a tent or other shelter to block the wind and create a warm environment.
Slip and Fall Hazards
Winter weather can also create slip and fall hazards on job sites. To prevent slips and falls, slip-resistant boots should be provided. Using ice melt or sand can improve traction on slippery surfaces.
It would help if you also watched out for black ice, which can be challenging to see and cause unexpected slips and falls. When walking on snow-covered surfaces, take short steps and slow walking may be required to maintain your balance.
Lack of other Safe Equipment and Tools
Equipment and tools can become stiff and difficult to maneuver in cold weather. Regular maintenance and lubrication keep them in good working condition. It would help if you also used appropriate equipment and tools for the weather conditions. For instance, use anti-skid materials on ladders and other devices with a grip to prevent slipping.
It’s also important to take extra caution when handling electrical tools and ensure they’re correctly grounded to avoid electrical shock.
Prioritizing safety is crucial when working outside in cold weather.
We’re Here for You!
You have rights if you’re hurt at work, whether as a construction worker or in any other outdoor profession. You can file a workers’ comp claim and get your deserved benefits. The attorneys at the Law Office of James M. Hoffman can help you with legal representation and assistance. We have experience handling these cases and can get you the compensation you deserve.