Whatever the weather, working at height can pose many threats but there’s no denying that during the winter building and construction sites present some extra hazards and risks.
Cold conditions, bad weather, visibility and dark mornings can present many challenges to site safety specialists and workers as they carry out their jobs.
To ensure the safety on site this winter, Taskforce recommends following these five simple steps.
1. Checking the site and structures
While structural safety should always remain top of the agenda when working at height, during bad weather you should take extra care and keep aware of any possible hazards.
2. Provide training and information
All staff working at height or on the ground at a construction site must have health and safety training. Wintertime can pose its own risk which staff must be aware of. This includes hazards like trips, slips and falls due to wet/icy floors, frostbite due to low temperatures and working in low light.
3. Keep warm and protected
Providing extra PPE to keep workers not only safe but also warm is a must. Extra overalls, gloves, hats and coats are useful if they don’t interfere with necessary health and safety personal protective equipment like ear protectors, hard hats or high-visibility jackets.
4. Safeguard those working at height
Cold weather, high winds, snow, sleet, rain, and bad visibility make working at height more difficult and more dangerous. Work at height precautions should be covered by a safe operating procedure or permit-to-work, but in winter safety becomes even more vital. Making use of safety netting and job rotation will help keep workers safe and rested.
5. Watch the weather
Checking the weather forecast should be a regular job for the site supervisor. Knowing how severe the weather will be means you can plan for extra safety precautions, or even suspend work if conditions are too dangerous.