Construction sites can be some of the most dangerous places to work, so safety is absolutely paramount, particularly during the dark and dreary winter months when the light is poor and people have short attention spans.
According to figures released by the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety, there were 144 fatalities in UK workplaces during the past two years, with around half occurring in construction and agriculture. This represents an increase over preceding years that needs to be addressed, so make sure your workers are kept safe with the help of our useful tips.
Provide the correct PPE and clothing
PPE isn’t just about hard hats and safety boots, although these items are important. Keep in mind that workers exposed to cold air and freezing conditions can compromise their safety through cold, so make sure that your employees have warm, winter clothing that offers protection from the elements.
At this time of year, it’s important to pay attention to the weather forecast and plan work accordingly. If it’s going to be very cold, limit your employees’ exposure to the elements by either finding them alternative work or requiring them to spend less time outdoors. Perhaps you can arrange for shorter shifts outside, allowing workers time to warm up in between cold weather spells.
Prepare vehicles for the cold
Well-serviced and maintained plant, equipment and vehicles are better able to withstand adverse weather conditions. Equip all vehicles with ice scrapers, shovels and emergency packs, including snacks, first aid kits and warm blankets, in case of breakdowns.
Don’t forget about visibility issues, particularly since there is less available daylight during the dark days of winter. Make sure that smaller vehicles are equipped with buggy whips so that they can easily be seen. You can find a huge selection of sizes and colours suitable for a wide range of purposes at wisuk.co.uk/buggy-whip.
Clear away ice and snow
Packed snow and ice are a very real safety hazard, so never expect your workers to expose themselves to slippery or dangerous surfaces. Make sure that you have adequate supplies of grit and salt before the cold weather starts, and clear away ice from paths, roads and any areas where workers need access. Avoid working at height in slippery conditions as a matter of course.