With UK weather predictions forecasting the coldest winter the country has seen in 10 years, no industry is likely to face the harsh effects of the snowy season more so than the construction sector.
With adversity on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about practical solutions to limit the impacts of this winter’s cold grip, by putting safety measures in place to help weatherproof both the construction site itself and all those working on it.
From minimising speed limits around the site to reduce the risk of accidents, to advocating the importance of staying warm to your staff, in today’s post, we’re exploring 4 must-know strategies for protecting your site come rain or ice.
Prioritise safety measures
When it comes to protecting your site from harsh weather conditions, planning is key to preventing a wide variety of potential disasters. Make keeping an eye on weather warnings a priority in order to take the necessary measures and eliminate as many dangers as early as possible.
Depending on the types of vehicles used on your site, speed limits often allow certain vehicles to move at speeds of up to 20 mph. So, when it comes to implementing strategies to minimise the potential risks, why not consider reducing the limit to 5 mph? While initially this hack may appear to reduce efficiency, this easy-to-implement procedure is just one of many temporary measures that can minimise on-site risks and will, therefore, benefit both your workers and the overall efficiency of the project in the long run.
Provide suitable storage spaces
In sub-zero temperatures, fragile equipment and the protection of your workers’ personal belongings become a priority. If exposed for too long, expensive and integral pieces of equipment run the risk of being hit by the harsh weather conditions and, in many cases, can face the effects of damage and erosion.
With this in mind, when it comes to maintaining the usability of both vital construction equipment and your workers’ personal belongings, having somewhere secure to store your property is crucial. Installing weatherproof lockers to shield your possessions from the rain and snow will not only help to future-proof your equipment, but also allow your colleagues to come to work safe in the knowledge that their belongings are protected from any spontaneous showers the day brings.
Protect your staff from the elements
We all deserve a much-needed break at work, and, when it comes to the unforgiving winter weather, short breaks away from the cold can be crucial to keeping your workers’ spirits high and their health strong.
By introducing sheltered areas filled with hot drinks, and having food supplies at the ready so that snacks are taken care of, your workers will be encouraged to keep warm – aiding both their physical health and their mental wellbeing. When it comes to prevention, education is key. Prop up informational posters around your break area to inform your staff on the symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and recommendations for how to prevent these from occurring.
Promote weather-appropriate attire
Additionally, when it comes to protecting your on-site workers, what they wear can make the difference between a runny nose and a sleepless night. With bitter, icy winds and freezing cold temperatures set to become the norm this season, dressing appropriately is vital to keeping fit and healthy on the construction site.
Encourage your team to not only protect their head, feet and hands from physical dangers with PPE equipment, but also to dress with extreme weather conditions in mind. Thick socks, sturdy boots, hard hats and warm gloves will keep some of the most heat-loss prone areas of your workers’ bodies regulated come the harsh winter months.
While preparing for the on-site effects of winter’s inevitably harsh weather conditions, it’s crucial to follow government advised restrictions and regulations, as well as using your own initiative. If the weather forecast predicts harsher conditions the night before than initially expected, make the executive decision to protect the safety of yourself and your staff by safeguarding your site however needed. Hang it there – it’ll be summer before you know it.