As the winter season sets in, it’s possible you will face unique challenges due to harsh weather conditions on your construction sites. Each year, weather delays 45% of construction projects, leading to a loss of revenue. 

Along with these challenges, acquiring proper qualifications and certifications is crucial for ensuring a safe and efficient work environment. This guide explores essential safety practices and certifications to equip construction teams for a secure and productive winter work season.

1. Keep Track of the Forecast and Warm-up Equipment and Tools

Keeping track of forecasts through the local weather channel ensures workers aren’t working in unfit conditions, such as hail storms or blizzards. You can consider cutting down your construction team work hours if the area is prone to extreme winter storms. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for warming up heavy equipment because hoses and electrical wires can become brittle in cold temperatures. Be cautious when working with pneumatic tools and air compressors, such as by draining fluid from air compressor tanks after use to prevent moisture from freezing.

2. Keep Track of Winter Safety Essentials

Here are some things construction workers should have to work safely on the job. 

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes reflective vests, hats, jackets, proper footwear, and gloves
  • A thermos to keep drinks from freezing
  • Food, such as granola bars, sandwiches, high-protein snacks, etc.
  • Shovel, ice melt, and sand to combat sudden slick spots or snow shower
  • Emergency blankets are needed in case they get stuck in the winter weather to protect against hypothermia and frostbite 
  • Anti-exposure work suits are waterproof and will prevent hypothermia 

3. Prepare for Work Stoppages in Construction

It’s smart to create a plan in preparation for unexpected days off due to high winds, bad visibility, or other icy conditions during the winter months. To prepare for icy conditions, install fences or lay down erosion control blankets before the ground freezes. 

Providing heating on open-construction sites can be challenging, but there should be segregated heated areas where workers can take breaks and stay warm. 

Your crew may feel unsafe during certain conditions and refuse work that appears dangerous. This is known as Stop Work Authority, and can impact the productivity of your job site. If you don’t require contractor management services but need help navigating Stop Work Authority, reach out to our team about the HSE chapters we have available to make this process easier.

4. Get Qualifications, Practices, and Certifications

Hiring clients often require assurance about work ethics, safety, and project management; proper qualifications, practices, and certifications can guarantee it. Contractor management platforms evaluate contractors by collecting information and conducting assessments to ensure their capability and reliability. These platforms consider the risks or hazards that can occur, how contractors will minimize them, operations are environmentally conscious, and safety procedures.

Becoming prequalified on contractor management platforms, like *ISNetworld®, Avetta®, Veriforce®, and others, will help your company stand out and be prioritized by potential employees, especially during the winter seasons, as employees will receive training on identifying and recognizing hazards like hypothermia, slippery surfaces, and how to use equipment properly during winter conditions. They will guide you on proper winter gear or personal protective equipment (PPE), such as insulated clothing or goggles. Their training material will help you create and practice emergency plans for winter-related incidents, such as the protocols to follow to handle emergencies like frostbites.

Endnote

Implementing these safety measures and certifications outlined in this guide ensures a safer work environment for your teams during winter. Contractor management solutions offer comprehensive safety training, enhancing hazard recognition and emergency preparedness. From tracking weather forecasts to adhering to warming procedures, you should create a comprehensive plan to minimize risks associated with extreme weather conditions. 

However, navigating the complex world of prequalification services can be challenging. Consider working with a contractor management service to help you navigate these platforms, save you from paperwork, set up your accounts, and streamline the process to  let you focus on what you do best.

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