At any time of year, there are many safety hazards in construction sites. While keeping workers safe is always a priority for most temporary staffing agencies, how they keep workers safe depends on the season. In the summer, staffing agencies ensure worker protection from extreme heat. During winter, employers protect workers from extreme cold including high winds, slips and falls. These basic winter safety tips can greatly reduce the risk of day laborers and skilled laborers becoming injured or sick while on the job:
- Avoid coffee and alcohol – Coffee in the morning is common for a lot of workers but having coffee or alcohol can increase heart rates and give workers a false sense of warmth. Encourage workers to drink water or sports drinks.
- Provide a warm break area – most construction work is outside. Workers need an area to keep warm. Whether it’s a heated trailer or tent with portable heaters, having an area where workers can escape the elements is important.
- Limit exposure – Schedule work outside during the hottest times of the day or schedule to work in shorter durations breaking up large projects into smaller tasks.
- Require proper gear – Workers need to have the right gear in extreme cold. Boots, heavy coats, gloves and hats are all appropriate for cold temperatures. Temporary staffing agencies should require workers to wear clothing that will keep them warm and dry to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Also, wear non-slip shoes to avoid falling on ice or snow.
- Remove snow and ice – workers don’t need to deal with snow and ice in addition to low temperatures. Before work has started, employers should spread sand or salt on icy areas and ensure that ice is chipped away. Thought it may be a hassle, it can greatly reduce the risk of falls.
- Review work sites everyday – Before work begins, supervisors should survey the area to ensure no new hazards were formed while workers were away. Common hazards include ice accumulation or downed power lines and trees.
- Educate workers on signs of frostbite and hypothermia – Even when temporary staffing agencies employ their best safety practices, issues may still arise. Supervisors and workers need to know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite so that medical attention can be given right away in the event of a worker showing signs or symptoms of either condition.
- Educate workers on what to do if they are stranded in a vehicle – Getting into an accident or being unable to start your vehicle can have serious consequences in winter weather. Staffing agencies should ensure all workers know what to do and who to call if they are stranded in a vehicle.
In conclusion, remaining safe on construction sites in winter means being proactive about potential problems. Safety is always a concern but, in winter, it is best to be extra vigilant. Taking these steps will help to minimize winter risks on a construction site. Try using these in combination with your own best practices.
McKinley Sterling is a Jr. Digital Marketing Specialist with Results Staffing. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2010 and has had several professional opportunities in the public relations, communications and digital media space. He is passionate about digital marketing and excited to bring his experience to this exciting new role with Results Staffing.