With parts of the UK experiencing especially harsh and cold weather this year, construction workers have been warned that they may need to take extra care during these harsh months.
For construction workers, the cold weather is not something that can be escaped by wrapping up warm inside. Instead, they have to battle the climate and continue to work in it. And, in doing so, these conditions can pose great risks to workers including accidents and falls.
Not only that, but consistent and prolonged exposure to the cold can also cause workers further health issues including catching colds and increased fatigue. And, in some extreme cases, if workers are not wearing the right gear for the weather, more serious health issues can occur including the development of hypothermia.
Therefore, it is recommended that construction workers on site should take care in the cold temperatures. Especially when it comes to PPE! This can go a long way in ensuring that workers are kept warm on site. It is recommended that workers add extra layers to their typical work gear. As well, they should also wear gloves, wind-resistant clothing and waterproofs too. With the nights getting longer, and visibility reduced, it is also important to ensure that reflective PPE is worn as well. Take a look at what you should be wearing this winter here.
Alongside this, cold weather can also be quite harsh when using machinery. Specifically, cold weather can increase the chances of hand-arm vibration syndrome. Therefore, it’s important that workers keep both their hands and arms warm when using equipment that causes vibrations. Make sure you’re taking regular breaks in heated areas too and drinking plenty of cold and hot drinks.
Katie Prestidge from Marley Eternit, the roof system manufacturers who issued the warning, stated: “In the UK, there is no legal minimum outdoor working temperature.”
“So, it is important that all construction workers understand the hazards of working in winter and know what precautions to take when cold weather sets in.”
“Builders and contractors must carry out their own thermal risk assessments and take appropriate action to protect their employees.”
These warnings are also being backed by The National Federation of Roofing Contractors. They described: “Accident statistics prove that there is an increased risk of personal injury during the winter months.”
“Increased hazards from reduced daylight hours and inclement weather, means precautions need to be taken in advance to protect the well-being of our workforce.”
For the top tips on working in winter, click here.
So what do you think of this? Do you take extra care on site in winter? Let us know in the comments below.