4 Ways of Improving Construction Site Safety This Winter

Improving Construction Site Safety This Winter

It can be difficult to manage health and safety on a construction site at any time of year, but given the potential for accidents during the colder months, how can you improve construction site safety this winter?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics for 2018/19 show 1.31 per 100,000 construction workers suffered a fatal injury at work – a figure three times that of the ‘All industry’ rate for fatal injuries.¹

So what are the main dangers of working in construction during the winter in particular, and what steps can you take towards better construction site safety?

Main dangers for construction workers in winter

The main threats to safety on a construction site in the winter months include:

  • Reduced daylight hours causing hazards to be less obvious
  • Colder temperatures making it more difficult to grip construction tools and equipment
  • Ice and frost causing slips and falls
  • Snow making driving construction vehicles more hazardous

How to improve construction site safety

Use additional lighting

The short winter days in January and February mean you may need to introduce more lighting than is needed at other times of the year – this helps workers avoid hazards that aren’t obvious in the half-light at the beginning and end of each day.

Grit or cover areas of frozen ground

One of the biggest threats to construction site safety in the winter is frost, ice, and snow, particularly when the ground is already wet with rainwater. The water freezes over but the ice isn’t always visible, especially when workers are carrying heavy loads.

It’s important to heavily grit problem areas, or cover them to provide a steady surface for boots and tyres. Falls from height accounted for 49% of the fatal injuries to construction workers in 2018/19,¹ and with walkways, ladders, and scaffolding potentially being very slippery in the winter, gritting or covering all of these dangerous areas should be a priority.

Provide appropriate work wear and breaks

Thermal socks and a warm liner beneath hard hats help to prevent heat escaping too quickly, and reduce the risk of worker frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot. Wearing several layers of clothing also makes it easier to stay warm if the top layer gets wet and has to be removed.

Providing warm break areas is crucial in these conditions – as well as offering a space for hot food and drinks, it allows for a change of work wear as necessary without further exposure to the cold or wet weather.

Shield workers from the worst of the weather

Put up shields in advance of bad weather to protect construction workers from the harshest conditions, and keep out some of the strong winds, driving rain, or heavy snow. You could timetable outdoor work to be carried out in pre-planned short timeframes, so workers aren’t exposed to the harsh elements for too long.

Acorn Health and Safety is a nationwide health and safety consultancy helping construction site and property managers with their H&S obligations.

Our services include health and safety inspections and audits, CDM consultancy services, and fire risk assessments, and we can advise on improving your construction site safety this winter.

Please get in touch with one of our experienced consultants to find out more, or obtain a free quote online.   


More Health and Safety Articles

Acorn Safety Services - National Forklift Day

What is the impact of a forklift truck accident?

Today is National Forklift Safety Day, a day that aims to raise awareness of the dangers of forklift trucks and the importance of forklift training. Kevin Burt, who joined Acorn Safety Services in April as our new Health and Safety ...

riddor

Understanding RIDDOR

Understanding RIDDOR is crucial for maintaining a safe workplace. This comprehensive guide explains the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, detailing its history, purpose, and steps to ensure compliance. Learn about your legal obligations, how to report incidents, and the importance of accurate record-keeping. If you need help understanding RIDDOR or think you have a RIDDOR case, contact Acorn Safety Services for expert assistance and support.

Cases of fire

Understanding the Different Classes of Fire

Understanding the different classes of fire is crucial for effective fire safety. This comprehensive guide covers Class A, B, C, D, Electrical, and Class F fires, detailing how to extinguish each type. From residential to industrial settings, knowing the right extinguishing methods can save lives and property. Dive into practical advice, historical context, and actionable tips to enhance your fire safety knowledge. Stay informed and prepared with Acorn Safety Services.

The team from Acorn Safety Services celebrate their success at the SME Northamptonshire Awards

Reflecting on our success at the SME Northamptonshire Awards

THE team at Acorn Safety Services was delighted to attend the SME Northamptonshire Awards earlier this month – a unique celebration of some of the brightest and best businesses in Northamptonshire. Just four years after its launch, Acorn Safety Services ...

12342 Next