Preparing a Construction Site for Cold Weather

| BlackHawk Team


Preparing for the winter months can seem like an arduous task, especially in these times. Since weather can be unpredictable, planning is key. It’s best to prepare before the first storm to not only keep potential work hazards at a minimum, but to avoid any resulting delays in shipping of crucial supplies.

Preparing the site
Ice is a huge risk factor regarding compromising the safety of a construction site. Utilizing methods to prevent ice related injuries is imperative. Treat all grounds, paths and walking surfaces with ice melt and have plenty of anti-freeze on hand for machinery and vehicles. Stay vigilant with your use of these two products. Conditions can change throughout the workday. Site managers should monitor ice and snow accumulation, as well as potential hazards blown onto the site by wind. Keep up with any cold weather advisories for your area and effectively communicate alerts and concerns to workers on site.

As someone adverse to cold conditions myself, temperature regulation is a must for the safety and comfort of a worksite. Temporary enclosures and portable heaters are extremely helpful in these instances. Maintain warming stations supplied with heating units like the TPI Portable Electric Salamander Heater. Also make blankets and hot drinks available so that employees have a refuge from the elements.

Preparing workers
It’s easy to get into the routine of work and take knowledge of safety procedures for granted. Reviewing safety training specific for winter weather with workers can be a great refresh of information that might have slipped through the cracks over the warmer months. Check with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make sure that you have the most up-to-date material.

Construction workers are at higher risk of developing cold stress due to prolonged exposure, so they need to know how to identify and prevent it. Make it a priority for everyone to look out for each other, as sometimes it’s hard for an individual to recognize symptoms they may be experiencing. Safety is a communal effort.

Additionally, encourage workers to wear weather appropriate PPE. Proper footwear with sufficient traction, head wear and gloves are crucial in keeping workers safe, warm and productive. The Best Gloves for Cold Weather Work details a sampling of options dependent on specific environments and tasks. Included are the 6714FF Harbor Master Gloves, which are great for extreme cold due to their foam and polar fleece lining and double-dipped PVC exterior with an added sandy finish that aids in grip. A great economical option for head wear would be a hard hat tube liner such as the PIP® 365-1502-BK. They provide protection against high winds and supplement heat retention. 

Preparing equipment

  • Employees driving any vehicles or equipment should be properly licensed and trained for winter driving.
  • All vehicles and drivable equipment should be supplied with emergency kits that include basic necessities, first-aid supplies, water and nonperishable food. Comprehensive kits like the First Aid Only Emergency Preparedness 3 Day Backpack help to ease the mind by making sure easily forgettable things (like batteries for the flashlight) are accounted for.
  • Regularly inspect and safely store equipment to avoid dangerous incidents caused by damage or malfunction. Winterize equipment as necessary by switching over to temperature appropriate fluids and give big machinery adequate time to warm up before operating.

Keep in mind that there’s only so much one can do. Sometimes despite the best of preparations, Mother Nature has different ideas. Plan ahead. Keep contracted schedules flexible enough so that it won’t cause major issues to cancel a day if weather conditions are too hazardous for work. Establish protocols for alternate workdays that abide by union regulations.

By building a comprehensive plan of action for cold weather, you not only equip the project with the means to continue with minimal headache on your part, but you give employees peace of mind in knowing what to expect.

Contact BlackHawk Industrial
Our mission at BlackHawk Industrial is to provide innovative, value-added services and products that reduce our customer’s total cost. Our professionals are happy to help you with on the job safety products or PPE. You can contact us for more information at 855-610-1001 or