This is an excerpt of an article first published by Construction Dive, and is republished here with permission of the editors. © 2020 Industry Dive.
By Paul Rozich
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Paul Rozich, Director of Safety and Risk Management for Rockford Construction, a West Michigan-based construction, real estate development and property management firm.
Workers face constant exposure to the elements in the winter with the combination of cold temperatures and chilling precipitation. Since the potential for hypothermia, frostbite or other cold weather-related injuries exist, companies must train employees and communicate with them to keep cold winter safety at the forefront.
Field team members also need to pay close attention to weather conditions so they dress appropriately each day. Fortunately, there is a huge selection of cold weather gear on the market, including gear that is high visibility for enhanced safety. At Rockford, we provide our employees with several types of high-visibility attire for cold weather conditions and ask employees to layer their clothing, using some form of a face mask and a hat that fits properly under a hard hat. Water-resistant gloves as well as insulated and waterproof boots are also a must.
There are many ways field team members can ensure safety needs are met before and during the winter. Before winter hits and the snow falls, teams must ensure that a site is clean and organized by taking care of basic housekeeping items like material laydown and storage in areas that might be affected by cold or snow. As the snow falls and starts to pile up, teams should be aware of other safety precautions like knowing what the roof load capacity is.
Additionally, if a project is exposed to the elements, it’s important to know what the floor load capacity is as the extra snow weight needs to be considered. Have a plan ready in the event a site requires snow removal as the amount of snowfall can fluctuate in a matter of hours.
(Source: Rozich, Paul. “Extreme Winter Construction Requires Important Safety Precautions.” Construction Dive, Industry Dive, 4 Feb. 2020, www.constructiondive.com/news/extreme-winter-construction-requires-important-safety-precautions/571160/.)
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