January 2020

Safety On A Winter Job Site

Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog

Winter gets messy, but your job site doesn’t have to be! Keeping your job site and your crew safe is important throughout the year. But with winter, there are more obstacles. To ensure your job site is safe, we’re talking through top safety tips and hazard precautions.

Understand Temperature Exposure Risks and PPE

WOL PRO Blog - Winter Safety PPE

As Canadians know, winters can be extremely cold and uncomfortable. While Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always be used on job sites, winter can make the equipment more difficult to use. Keep yourself and your crew comfortable by using winterized PPE. This means adding warmth liners to hard hats, having warm gloves for those working with their hands, and anti-fog goggles workers can see regardless of the temperature fluctuations.

Footwear is also an important part of winterized PPE. You and your crew should have waterproof boots with non-slip soles. On job sites that require steel-toed boots, you should also be aware of the risk that metal carries. Metal will make feet colder—so make sure workers are wearing extra warm socks. You may also want to keep a few spares on site.

Make sure you give your crew some heated areas to take breaks as well. It’s a good check-point to ensure they aren’t dealing with frostbite, hypothermia or fatigue.

Prevent Slips, Falls and Injuries

WOL PRO Blog - Winter Safety Clear Walkways

Walking anywhere in the winter can be dangerous if there isn’t proper snow and ice removal. Now, pair these elements with a busy job site...and you’re in for a real disaster!

Make sure that any paths people are using are properly cleared, plus any snow or ice covering roofs, ladders or equipment. Also, make the areas as safe as possible by throwing salt or sand to create traction and melt ice.

Assess The Job Site and Workers

WOL PRO Blog - Winter Safety Job Site Weather

If you know that there is inclement weather on the way, it’s good to assess if the job site is going to be safe for workers. If there are extremely low temperatures, the risk of frostbite and bodily injuries increases. If there’s a blizzard on the way, you also run the risk of stranded workers at the job site unable to leave. Keep an eye on the weather and temperatures so you can make the best decision to keep your workers safe.

In the event that emergency weather does impact your workers on their way home or while at the job site, it’s a great idea to have them keep emergency kits in their work vehicle. Items in this kit should include:

  • Water and non-perishable foods
  • Sleeping bag and blanket
  • Emergency flares
  • Back up chargers for cellphones

Equipment Exposure In Cold Temperatures

WOL PRO Blog - Winter Safety Job Site Tools

All equipment, tools and materials have limitations on their performance when mixed with cold weather. For example, if you’re working with gas and oil, they need to be kept close to room temperature. Tools have similar limitations. Before you begin using your tools, make sure they have acclimatized after extreme temperature changes for safe and smooth operation. You may need a few small heaters around the job site to make this happen.

Safety should be everyone’s top priority on the job site, especially when faced with the hazards of winter. Keep these tips in mind when working around residential communities and commercial spaces to keep you and your crew safe and happy.

For more contractor job site tips and business articles, sign up to be a Wolseley PRO. You’ll get great information to help you on the job site sent straight to your inbox. 

New call-to-action