Cold Weather Construction Checklist
Brace yourselves — winter is coming! These words aren’t just for popular television series; they’re a call to action for anyone in the construction and contracting industry. This time of year is especially hazardous for construction workers, with low temperatures, slippery surfaces and other conditions caused by inclement weather and environmental factors. It’s always a good idea to have a cold weather construction checklist to manage your liability in terms of financial and human costs. Now is the time to prep for working during the winter.
Dangers of Cold Weather Building
Building in winter actually makes many construction projects impossible. Concrete won’t always set properly. There are dangers from cold metal, slippery surfaces and more. Even with modern equipment that allows you to mitigate some of the risks, working in the winter is not an optimal choice. This is why many contractors close up shop in those four months. They spend the time hiring, getting ready for spring projects, taking on smaller, seasonal jobs and the like.
Advantages of Cold Weather Work
There are many advantages to making a go of it in the winter months. Competition will be down, since so many businesses close in the winter months. Supplies and costs of leasing equipment and tools will be far lower since fewer people are looking to use them. There will be less distraction and crowding.
While winter work carries its own risks, it can also provide a lot of benefits. You need to decide what is best for you and your business.
Follow this Checklist
For those who do decide to go it in the winter — and there are many reasons to do so — a checklist is vital to make sure that your job site and workers remain safe and stable. Ask yourself important questions such as:
- Is the jobsite insulated from cold weather?
- Can jobs be undertaken in the cold?
- Have your workers been given proper training on cold weather procedures and protective equipment?
- Do you have the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for your workers, including coats, hats, gloves, and boots?
- Are first aid policies solid and are there readily available supplies?
- Can you insulate and keep equipment and tools free from ice, snow or mud that can foul their operation and create risks?
- Will there be easy access to the job site in case of snow or inclement weather?
- Can you exercise solid wind and temperature control?
- Have your workers been trained to recognize the symptoms of frostbite and/or hypothermia?
- Do you have the staff to properly rotate job assignments?
- Do you have heated areas where workers can go to take breaks and warm up?
- Can you keep your workers hydrated and provide access to broth, soup, coffee, tea, hot cocoa or other warm beverages?
- Do you have the proper contractors insurance coverage to deal with cold weather dangers?