Construction job sites can be challenging to manage during the winter months due to the colder temperatures, snow and ice, and shortened daylight hours. In order to maintain a safe yet productive construction site during cold temperatures, far-sighted planning and management of resources are essential. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and keep your crew safe against the snow and ice:
Before the winter weather hits, review your project schedule and see if there are any tasks that can be completed before the cold weather arrives. Also, classify the works that can be carried out during the cold and after the weather is warmer. This will help prioritize the tasks accordingly and avoid unnecessary risks or complications. If you stay on track with the plan, the impact of winter weather on your timeline can be minimized. Also, prepare emergency winter kits for your vehicles and offices to ensure basic amenities in case of emergencies.
Winterize your equipment
Cold weather can be tough on construction equipment, so it’s important to take steps to protect it. Make sure to winterize your equipment by adding antifreeze, checking the battery, and covering any exposed parts. Follow the manufacturer’s guide on using heavy machines in colder temperatures. Give equipment enough time to warm up before running. This will help prevent breakdowns and extend the life of your equipment. Employ special care while using air compressors and pressure tools. Drain the fluids to avoid accidents due to frozen moisture.
Clear the job site
Snow and ice can make it difficult to move around the job site, so it’s important to keep it clear. Use a snowblower or shovel to remove snow and spread salt or sand to prevent ice from forming. Inspect the job site for fallen power lines and trees before beginning the work. Make sure to clear a path to all entrances and exits, as well as any emergency exits. Cover any potholes and level uneven surfaces before the snowfall begins. Ensure the inclined surfaces, ladders, scaffoldings, etc. are cleared of snow.
Keep your crew warm
Working outside in cold weather can be tough, so it’s important to provide your crew with the right gear. Make sure the workers are using appropriate PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) consisting of hard hats, warm but dexterous gloves, waterproof footwear, etc. Also, the PPE should not cause obstruction and lead to other hazards during the work. Encourage layering clothes to help them remain warm and dry. A heated break area with sufficient warm beverages can also help the workers keep warm.
Monitor the weather
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If a winter storm is coming, consider suspending work or rescheduling tasks to another day. Give the workers sufficient time to get home safely and pack up work in case of worsening weather. Make certain that the workers are warm enough, and check for signs of hypothermia, frostbite, etc. Encourage workers to keep winter emergency kits in their personal vehicles as well.
Use chains or tracks
If your heavy equipment is not equipped with tracks, consider using chains to improve traction in the snow and ice. This will help prevent slipping and accidents. The snow chains can grip the snow and allow the wheel to move freely and avoid skidding of the tires.
Winter weather can be dangerous, so it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your crew safe. Make sure everyone knows the emergency procedures and has a plan in place in case of a winter storm. Be vigilant while driving and moving through snow, allow enough time to reach places and avoid rushing through snow-covered surfaces.
Review your emergency plan
Winter weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Review your emergency procedures with your crew and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of a winter storm. The emergency kits should include tools for ice removal, drinks, non-perishable snacks, spare cell phone battery, emergency lamps, etc.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your construction job site stays on track and your crew stays safe during the winter months. With the right preparation and a little extra care, you can minimize the impact of winter weather and keep your project moving forward. There is no better motivation than a safe and warm atmosphere in bleak weather to keep the workers’ morale up.