New York City Construction firms must have a plan in place to handle the risks that extreme winter weather can bring to the job site and their workers. Job Foremen should meet with their crews as the weather deteriorates and discuss safety issues as a group. Educate everyone to recognize and prepare for the following risks; frostbite, cold stress, dehydration, hypothermia, environmental hazards…especially slippery surfaces, excess snow hazards and snow removal procedures.
Visibly warn workers on cold season hazards, and train your crews to recognize and treat the above-mentioned conditions such as cold stress, hypothermia and frostbite using techniques like these ones recommended by the CDC.
- Make sure First Aid Kits for treatment of the above conditions are available
- Workers should wear warm hats and gloves
- Workers should wear thermal under layers
- Workers should wear insulated waterproof jackets
- Store extra layers of clothing for workers who neglect to dress for cold weather
- Dismiss workers who regularly arrive without proper clothing or gear for the weather
Foremen should arrange for their bosses to purchase added safety equipment, such as fall harnesses and salt for melting ice. Also purchase specialized equipment for safe snow removal, or employ a subcontractor who can expertly prepare job sites for the work crews after snow or ice has layered the job site.
This is a perfect time to have a NYC Shanty erected on your job site as a way to get in from the cold periodically and of course for the supervisors to do their planning and hold meetings. Construction site safety affects everyone on the job. “Safety on Purpose” is more than just a motto for NYC Shanty, and it is reflected in the safety record of our shanties on NYC job sites over many years. Job sites are safer and more comfortable during NYC’s hot summers and freezing winters because a NYC Shanty was there to protect management and workers on the job!
Encourage job site workers to carry their own winter safety equipment and extra clothing in their vehicles so they will be prepared for a sudden freezing change in the weather. New York City weather is unpredictable, so proactive, educated workers can stop cold weather problems in their tracks. Also extra gear such as disposable hand warmers, personal first aid, a dry change of clothes, an ice scraper, road salt, extra water and pre-packaged nourishment to fight off fatigue…like snack bars, nuts and dried fruit.
Provide frequent breaks for workers to prevent cold stress, dehydration or fatigue; long hours of vigorous physical labor drain energy that would normally go to warming the body. Create a designated “warm-up area” in your NYC Shanty complete with safety approved portable heaters and dry blankets. Set up a hot beverage machine and have a microwave available! Encourage workers to hydrate with non-caffeinated warm beverages like hot cocoa, hot broth or decaf coffee throughout the day. Regularly check on workers who seem fatigued or who have been working a long time without breaks. We don’t need any heroes on the job… so schedule breaks for everyone! Wearing work gloves and / or applying insulating tape can help workers avoid frostbite from contact with metal equipment like hammers, wrenches and rebar.