new york construction workers
ContractorsInsurance No Comments

Winter has been relatively mild for New York construction workers so far this season, but do not expect the moderate temperatures to hold. The 2015-2016 El Niño cycle will bring unpredictable cold snaps and severe weather like blizzards, so construction firms must have a plan in place to handle these risks.

New York Construction Worker Checklist

new york construction workers

Step 1: Assess Risks

Educate yourself on recognizing and preparing for the following risks:

Also create a system for measuring the weather throughout the week and up to the morning before in order to anticipate weather-related risks, such as an incoming ice storm that will make the job site particularly slippery the next day.

Step 2: Prepare for Risks

  • Train your crew to recognize and treat the above-mentioned conditions such as cold stress, hypothermia and frostbite using techniques like these ones recommended by the CDC
  • Provide first aid kits for treatment of the above conditions
  • Store extra layers for workers who neglect to dress for the weather
    • Warm hats
    • Gloves
    • Thermal under layers
    • Protective goggles
    • Outerwear, including waterproof jackets
  • Purchase added safety equipment such as fall harnesses
  • Visibly warn workers on the unique seasonal hazards
  • Purchase equipment for safe snow removal, or employ a subcontractor who can expertly prepare job sites after snow or ice
  • Take steps to insulate the job site from cold weather and wetness if possible

new york construction workers

Strongly encourage workers to carry their own winter safety equipment in their vehicles or to the job site:

  • Warm extra layers
  • Disposable hand warmers
  • Personal first aid
  • Dry change of clothes
  • Ice scraper
  • Road salt
  • Extra water
  • Extra nourishment to fight off fatigue

Step 3: Plan Ahead and Create Winter Safety Policies

How you react to risks can significantly affect the likelihood of worker injuries or death.

  • Create an inclement weather plan; include criteria for shutting down a job site or postponing work
  • Create a procedure for identifying worker ailments and deciding upon treatment
  • Never foot traffic or work to proceed in areas where snow or ice is present
  • Apply salt or sand liberally to add traction and prevent slipping
  • Schedule work during the warmest parts of the day
  • Mandate use of fall safety equipment for work taking place 10 feet up or higher
  • Check ladders for ice before use

new york construction workers

Ensure that your workers are staying nourished and getting the breaks they need:

  • Provide frequent breaks for workers to prevent cold stress, dehydration or fatigue; long hours of strenuous physical labor deplete energy that would normally go to warming the body
  • Create a “warm-up area” in the job trailer with portable heaters and dry blankets
  • Set up a hot beverage machine or microwave; encourage employees to hydrate with non-caffeinated warm beverages like cider, cocoa, hot broth or green tea throughout the day
  • Have policies to rotate intense-labor work so no one gets exhausted
  • Regularly check on the status of workers who seem fatigued or who have been working without breaks
  • Discourage workers from contacting metal equipment like hammers, wrenches, rebar, etc. without wearing gloves or applying insulating tape; cold metal can quickly lead to frostbite in certain situations
  • Dismiss workers who regularly arrive without proper clothing or gear for the weather

Keep Your New York Construction Workers Safe This Winter

Follow the above tips to keep your crew safe and prevent the injuries and deaths that have been recently plaguing NYC job sites.

Also remember to purchase the needed coverage for workers compensation, equipment coverage, job site liabilities and materials so that winter hazards are explicitly covered by your policy. Prepare mentally, prepare financially and prepare with good old-fashioned elbow grease to ensure that we all get through the winter safe this year.

Free Workers Comp Insurance Quote