Winter can be dangerous for anyone who routinely spends a lot of time outdoors. But for construction professionals, this season presents a continuous threat to their safety and overall well-being. After all, regardless of the temperature or weather conditions, these hard-working individuals will always do whatever it takes to finish the job. These are six winter construction work zone hazards to be aware of as you tackle future projects.
Our bodies can’t withstand temperatures below freezing for very long. As the dry air sucks the moisture from our skin, our chances of developing ailments like frostbite, hypothermia, and even cold stress increase. Untreated, these conditions are all incredibly dangerous and can even result in the loss of a limb or death in severe cases. So make sure that you’re taking breaks to warm up and keeping all skin covered.
For those who work in road work zones, vehicle accidents are also a winter construction site hazard of which to be aware. Since tires have less traction on slick, icy roadways, it’s much easier for vehicles to slide and collide with others. Many drivers will also hit the guardrails or barricades along the edge of a work zone to avoid colliding with other cars. For this reason, you should always remain aware of your surroundings and use the proper equipment to manage traffic.
Like the surrounding roadways, the ground of your work site has the potential to become slippery as well. Accumulating snow will often leave behind several layers of ice, which makes falls—and the injuries that result from them—one of the most common types of accidents to occur on a jobsite.
Though you may not initially think of it, carbon monoxide levels are at their highest during the winter. Heavy machinery must work harder to heat up and move, which burns through more fuel and releases more emissions. Inhaling these toxins can lead to the development of acute CO2 poisoning, which should receive treatment by a doctor immediately. Some symptoms of this condition include headaches, tightness in the chest, dizziness, and nausea.
Low visibility, especially during snowstorms, is often one of the most dangerous hazards of them all. Blinded by snow and fog, there are few ways for drivers—or workers on the ground, for that matter—to tell where they’re going or even where they currently are. Should storms get this severe, the team should pack up for the day. Even when visibility is not impaired, high visibility apparel is a must.
With fewer hours of daylght during the winter, you need a plan to properly illuminate work sites. Choose from multiple styles of work zone lights including magnetic lights designed to attach to vehicles, personal safety lights, barricade lights,and LED lights and flares that can be easily attached to traffic cones or placed inside them. Our Flagger Lighting Station & Work Area Light supplies temporary lighting for work safely under any weather condition. It lights approximately 8 sq. ft. and operates for more than 14 hours on a full charge.