Winter can be a dangerous time for workers who perform their jobs outside. Construction jobs are particularly dangerous due to cold winds, dropping temperatures, snow and ice. Here are some tips for staying safe on the job and taking steps to prevent accidents.
Limit exposure to the elements
One of the most important things to do during the winter is to make sure your exposure to the elements is limited. You can't be expected to work hours on end in sub-zero temperatures or in below-freezing conditions. Frost-bite and weather-related injuries are more likely in the winter, so your supervisors should be giving you time off during the day to warm up, eat and rest. You should always have appropriate gear for outside. That gear can include heated vests, hats, gloves and other items to keep you warm and comfortable in the chilly climate.
Get the right training to help in an emergency
It's possible that the cold could impact workers in a number of ways, from setting off asthma attacks to causing hypothermia. It's crucial that at least a few people present at the work site understand how to treat the conditions that might arise. They should know what to do if someone is overwhelmed with cold, if a worker is unable to breathe well and the steps to take when an accident happens. Knowing who is responsible for a first response before 911 can be called or emergency care arrives can keep everyone a little safer and be immensely useful in a frantic situation.
Take your time
Yes, it's cold, but it's important that everyone on site takes his or her time to complete the job. Fingers might be cold, noses could be feeling numb or workers could be tired from being in the cold, so plan to spend more time on the job to provide the breaks needed to those individuals. Taking your time and resting appropriately prevents accidents and gives workers time to discuss the conditions and plans for tackling them.
If someone is hurt at work, workers' compensation still should kick in to help cover medical bills. In most cases, these accidents can be avoided, so take these tips to heart.