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How to keep your construction site safe this winter

There are many safety risks associated with construction work. However, in the winter months, cold weather conditions can exacerbate an already dangerous situation. Slippery conditions increase the likelihood of accidents, and the cold brings health risks.

Here are a few tips to help create a safe winter work environment on a construction site:

  1. Clear snow and ice from the work area to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Inspect the work area at the start of each day to make sure it remains clear of any safety hazards.
  2. Work with adequate lighting. In the winter, the days become shorter. It can be easy to continue working into the dusk hours without recognizing the shift in light. However, it’s dangerous to carry out construction work with insufficient light. The site manager should make accommodations around the limited daylight hours—which may involve installing additional lights at the work site or having shorter work shifts during the winter.
  3. Ensure that crews wear weather-appropriate clothing. Clothing that provides inadequate protection against the elements puts the health of construction crews at risk. Ensure that they have the proper thermal, insulated gear.
  4. Allow extra time for a project. Under winter conditions, construction projects take longer than in summer weather. Putting pressure on your crew to rush through a project in order to meet a deadline could lead to injury. Make sure you build extra time into your work plan.
  5. Train your crew to identify and respond to medical emergencies. Extended time in cold and windy conditions puts a construction crew at risk for frostbite, hypothermia and cold stress. Ensure that every member of your crew knows the signs of such afflictions and how to deal with them.

No one should face undue dangers just by going to work. Follow these suggestions to keep your construction crew safe this winter.

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