Construction safety training, including OSHA training and courses teaching familiarity with safety equipment (competent person training), is extremely important. Construction workers and project managers need to be especially careful during winter months, when there tends to be more potential hazards on any given construction site. Here are a few tips to keep workers safe year-round, even with snow and ice on the ground.
Start With Basic Safety Training And Material Handling
Mastering anything — whether it is writing or construction safety — starts with the basics. Just like aspiring writers should start with the basics (spelling and grammar), construction workers and their supervisors should start with the fundamentals of safety training. All workers should wear necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), including hard hats and steel toe boots, for example.
Carefully Inspect Winter Construction Sites
At any time of year, doing a walk-through of construction sites at the beginning of the day is a good idea. In winter, it’s absolutely necessary. Inspect ladders and scaffolding for ice and snow. Don’t just look for obvious signs — also consider the possibility of less blatant hazards, such as black ice. Some equipment, such as protective equipment that can withstand cold stress and fall arrest equipment, is especially important to use during this time of year.
Use Portable Heaters With Caution
In addition to providing safety guidelines, OSHA also inspects construction sites and equipment to keep projects as safe as possible. Project managers should make sure that all equipment is properly maintained and routinely inspected for signs of wear. This includes equipment used during the winter. For some construction projects, using portable heaters during the winter may be necessary — and that’s fine, if the necessary precautions are taken. Always make certain heaters have been inspected, and keep them a safe distance from any combustible or flammable materials.
Training is necessary year-round. In winter, however, there is a little more to making sure that employees stay safe. Wear weather-appropriate PPE, inspect any portable heaters, and watch out for hazards like black ice.