Six winter safety tips for construction workers

No matter the time of year, Canadian construction professionals are constantly battling safety hazards, and with the weather in Calgary constantly in fluctuation, it is important to be on top of all safety recommendations. During the cold season, it is up to employers to shield their workers from extremely cold temperatures, high winds and slippery conditions. Basic precautions and education for employees can reduce the risk of illness and injury.


1. Limit exposure

Restrict exposure to the elements. Blowing wind and snow paired with low temperatures can be damaging to employees. It is suggested to stay outside for shorter durations in these conditions and to break larger projects into smaller tasks.


2. Follow weather reports

Employers need to ensure that when they send employees out to work, that they will be in safe outdoor conditions. The worst case scenario is an employer requesting the work of a construction professional in unsafe conditions.


3. Provide a warm and comfortable break vicinity

While performing outdoor work in cold conditions, employees are losing body heat. Ensure that there is a warm break room where employees can relax and recover. Heated trailers or tents with portable heaters are ideal.


4. Teach the effects of caffeine  

Drinking caffeine before strenuous activities raises the heart rate and can cause blood vessels to restrict -- creating an even lower internal temperature.


5. Review worksite area

Before any construction professional is asked to perform a task on site, there should be a review of the site to discuss and new hazards that could have formed while no one was present. The most common hazards include, but are not limited to, snow and ice accumulation or downed power lines or trees.


6. Educate employees
Teach workers about the signs of hypothermia and frostbite, because even when employers do everything in their power to protect employees, issues can still arise. Everyone on site should know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite, that way if anyone is affected, there can be an immediate reaction by an employee on site.

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