The winter months bring frigid cold, snowy weather, and dangerous ice. All of these factors can make working on a construction project and other outside jobsites a dangerous place. We all know the inherent dangers of slips and falls, but there are many more factors and hazards to consider while working in these extreme conditions. The best way to avoid these dangers is to brush up on your knowledge of winter hazards and to take the correct safety precautions while on the jobsite. In the following article, we will talk about common dangers and safety hazards you may encounter on the jobsite, as well as precautions and steps to take to keep you and your fellow worker safe this winter.
One of the most common dangers associated with winter and cold is frostbite. Frostbite is far more dangerous than most people understand, it can lead to permanent skin damage and even the loss of limbs and appendages in extreme conditions. Frostbite is the destruction of tissue caused by exposure to extreme cold, humidity and wind are also two key factors in the probability of developing frostbite. The first signs of frostbite are small patches of white on the skin where the underlying moisture has already begun to freeze. To prevent further damage, you need to move to a warmer area and allow the damaged skin to gradually return to its normal temperature. It is crucial that you do not rub frostbitten skin, put a hot compress on the affected area, or run warm water on it, this can actually worsen the damage. If at any point you can no longer feel your finger or toes, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Covering exposed skin and dressing in layers is the best way to avoid becoming frostbitten.
Another danger that is prevalent on jobsites during the wintertime is icy work surfaces. Just like how bridges freeze quicker than the roads leading up to them, scaffolds, ladders, and similar surfaces will accumulate ice well before ground surfaces. This is because they are elevated and open, allowing cold air to circulate around them. The best action to take against these dangers is to periodically inspect these surfaces and remove the ice when it begins to accumulate. Icicles are another form of an icy hazard commonly found on jobsites during the winter. These inert ice forms can break off at any point and become an extremely dangerous falling hazard. Icicles need to carefully be removed, especially if the temperatures are beginning to warm. If icicles can not be removed, the area under the icicles needs to be roped off until they are no longer a safety hazard.
A danger that most people would not think of during the wintertime is dehydration. Dehydration is most commonly recognized as a summertime problem, but it can still be just as dangerous even on the coldest days. All the extra layers of clothing workers wear to stay warm can actually lead to dehydration. The extra layers of clothing hold in the body heat, and in turn, cause the body to perspire to cool off. Those workers who fail to replenish fluids throughout the day are prone to dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration are perspiration, fatigue, and dizziness followed up by severe cramping. To prevent dehydration adequate amounts of drinking water need to be present on the jobsite. Drinking warm beverages and sports drinks are also encouraged.
Here at Tanner, we want to be sure you and your fellow workers are all well prepared for these cold winter months. We have a number of safety and personal protection products to keep you safe and warm this winter including Hi-Visibility Apparel, Cold Weather Gloves, Winter Liners & Headwear, Thermal Bids, Thermal Insoles, and Ice Traction Soles. From everyone at Tanner, we hope that you stay safe, stay warm, and stay informed this winter.