Working in the Winter: How to ensure your site is safe during wet and cold winter months
Winter weather has the potential to hit hard, with strong winds, low temperatures, and of course, lots of rain. All of these factors can cause hazards for you and your workers. From trips and slips, to numb fingers and damaged gear and equipment, cold temperatures call for specific measures to ensure that your workplace is safe during the cold and wet winter months.
Work doesn’t stop when winter weather rolls in, so it’s important to know what to do to keep your workers safe and warm.
Winter checks and inspections
When the winter weather starts rolling through it’s important for you to inspect your workplace. If you are somewhere that experiences snow, make sure that you identify and clear, where possible, all snow and ice from working surfaces, platforms and walkways that are used. It’s important to stress the importance of fall protection when icy conditions are present.
Winter driving accidents
Vehicle accidents don’t just happen on the roads, they can also happen in the work yard. Stress to your team that winter driving rules for the road also apply to your workplace and it’s important that they take care while operating work vehicles and equipment.
Watch the weather
The last thing you need is for the weather to catch you by surprise. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, so your workers can prioritise the work that will be affected should the weather take a turn for the worse, and that they have the right gear to be able to do the job safely.
The right PPE makes a difference
Be vigilant when ensuring that workers are wearing proper PPE and suitable clothing when winter weather conditions are present.
- Safety helmets and hard hats should be worn when applicable to protect workers in the case of a fall as well as falling objects. Using liners under headgear is a great way to stay warm and keep body heat from escaping. Use chin straps to avoid safety headgear falling off in windy conditions.
- Safety glasses and goggles can be treated with anti-fog spray to prevent vision from becoming obstructed.
- Gloves need to be carefully selected to ensure that workers will still have a good range of movement when working with tools and equipment.
- Waterproof boots with non-slip soles should be worn along with two layers of socks to keep moisture away from the skin.
By following these tips to optimise your crew’s safety, you can enjoy a productive winter while keeping your team safe.