Wintertime Construction Safety
Although construction in the wintertime slows down, some companies still do work. That means workers not only have to deal with what could already be a dangerous work site, they now have to try and stay safe during wintertime conditions, which in the Northeast means snow, ice and freezing temperatures.
This kind of inclement weather increases the chance for a workplace or onsite construction accidents if companies don’t take the proper procedures and precautions in winterizing the worksite. Recently, New York City Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri reminded property owners and contractors to start preparing for the winterization of their construction sites if they haven’t already.
“Taking proper precautions is the best way to prevent accidents,” LiMandri said Dec. 19. “With winter just around the corner, we want to remind all construction professionals that it is imperative to ‘winterize’ their job sites in order to ensure workers and New Yorkers are better protected. These tips should serve as a standard checklist on how to prepare sites for the winter weather so all New Yorkers can have a safe holiday season.”
Here are the tips as provided on Occupational Health and Safety’s website.
- Fire safety precautions: Replace wooden access ladders to forming and stripping floors with non-combustible ladders and store materials away from flames. All temporary heating equipment must comply with the New York City Fire Code.
- Safeguarding pipes: Never thaw frozen pipes with a flame, which can cause fires and steam explosions. Carefully thaw frozen areas with a heat gun, heat lamp, or space heater.
- Safeguarding a water tank: Make sure to have your roof water tank inspected to ensure it is protected from freezing.
- Debris removal: Remove loose and discarded debris after each work day to ensure materials do not fall or shift to the street level. Remove ice and snow.
- Secure equipment: Secure all construction materials, netting, ladders, chutes, and accessories that could shift during inclement weather. Store smaller items in a tool box or container for future use.
- Secure temporary structures: Secure all scaffolding and sidewalk sheds, which are temporary structures that provide overhead protection for pedestrians during construction operations. Secure fencing, as well.
- No work in icy conditions: Avoid all work on scaffolds covered in snow, ice, or slippery materials, except to remedy a hazardous condition.
- No work in stormy conditions: Avoid all work on or from a scaffold during storms and high winds unless construction workers are protected by a fall protection system.
- Hoist safety: Avoid using personnel hoists in heavy rain, freezing conditions, or winds reaching up to 35 miles per hour. Hoists that have been exposed to winds stronger than 35 miles per hour must be inspected before use.
- Crane safety: Cranes must be properly stored, inspected and maintained at all times, including positioning for inclement weather. Use extra precaution in areas where water and ice may accumulate on the crane, creating a fall hazard or falling ice hazard
Post by Paul Gogulski
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