5 Winter Construction Safety Tips

Did you know, 561,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury related to slips, trips and falls in 2022 and 2023, according to self-reports from the Labour Force Survey? What is involved in your winter construction safety plan? Have you considered the different, winter-specific hazards that might present an issue to your site’s safety?

Below are our top 5 winter construction safety tips for your business this winter.

Winter construction safety tip #1: Brushes

As the weather becomes harsher and wetter, your site becomes more prone to a build up of mud, dirt and debris. It’s important to keep your construction site clean to ensure accessibility to a safe, productive site. One of the most effective ways to maintain the ground over the winter months, is by using brush and sweeper attachments with your equipment. These can be mounted to telehandlers and tractors and to other fleet machines.

When attached to a tractor, brushes are hydraulically driven by the spools on the tractor. When attached to a telehandler, the attachments are powered by the auxiliary third service hydraulics.

Sweeper collectors do what their name describes! They sweep up mess and collect it for easy waste management. These attachments are far better for managing debris, dirt and litter rather than simply clearing the path by moving it to the side. We offer the hydraulically-driven Syclone sweeper and the telehandler-mounted site sweep collector for efficient sweeping.

Winter construction safety tip #2: Removing snow and ice

When the temperatures begin to drop below freezing, you’ll be glad you planned for winterisation in advance! Salt spreaders and snow clearers are essential for any winter construction safety plan, keeping your site slip-free and suitable for heavy machinery operation. Clearing snow will also help identify any hazards on the ground that would have been covered.

Winter construction safety tip #3: Lighting

In the winter months, the reduction in daylight hours can reduce hazard awareness on your site. Winter construction safety includes making sure you’re using a lighting unit that gives you the optimal amount of light throw needed for safe and productive work on-site.

Whether you’re looking for a towable or static unit, or an LED option, we have you covered!

Winter construction safety tip #4: PPE

PPE is obviously a ‘must’ any time of the year, but PPE in the winter months will include things like gloves, insulated clothing and waterproof footwear, to ensure workers are protected against the elements in the cold. A high-visibility jacket will also help with visibility and reducing the likelihood of accidents in reduced visibility conditions, promoting winter construction safety.

Winter construction safety tip #5: Monitor weather conditions

A final winter construction safety tip, is to monitor weather and site conditions on a regular basis during the winter.

Keep an eye out for snow, heavy rainfall and slippery surfaces, particularly in the morning and evening when temperatures are lower, and visibility is reduced.

Monitoring external conditions allows sites to be proactive about measures to take to ensure a safe site, whether that might involve gritting the site in the evenings, or delaying certain projects until the snow or heavy rain eases off.  

Why is construction site safety so important?

We’ve all seen those photos of construction workers in the ‘30s working on skyscrapers and balancing along the beams without a care in the world. Looking at these photos now, it’s clear we’ve come a long way in terms of site safety, but just why is construction safety so important?

Winter hazards on construction sites

Some of the main factors that pose a risk to winter construction safety include:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Rainwater
  • Heavy winds
  • Reduced daylight
  • Fallen or decaying leaves
  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite

You can learn more about the risks posed via the Health and Safety Executive.

Winter construction safety for workers

The most obvious reason to care about winter construction safety is, of course, the wellbeing of workers. Workers are protected by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  

The nature of a construction site makes it prone to hazardous situations; for example, working high-up or handling heavy materials and equipment, or working in hazardous or slippery conditions are just some of the reasons for the elevated level of risk when it comes to construction workers.

Even with all the modern precautions and guidelines, construction sites are still considered to be one of the most hazardous places to work – more so in the winter months.

Winter construction safety for the public

A poorly managed construction site can pose a danger to members of the public who may walk past or through the site, particularly in high-traffic areas, such as around shopping centres or near office complexes.

Warning signs, safety barriers and good lighting are all key to site awareness for members of the public.

Winter construction safety for businesses

If an injury on site does occur, either to a member of the public or a construction worker, there may be legal ramifications (especially if current health and safety legislation and guidance isn’t being followed).

Accidents, particularly severe ones, can also lead to investigations that result in temporary or permanent shut-down of the site, damaged materials and equipment and reduced worker morale and company reputation. Each of these will be costly or difficult to replace, but relatively straightforward to prevent, providing the proper safety procedures and training are in place.

Keeping your site safe over the winter months doesn’t need to be a difficult chore – one of the best ways to ensure successful winterisation is by being prepared, having a regular and effective maintenance routine which involves checks and inspections of the site, and making sure you have the right equipment ready (like brushes or salt spreaders) so you can tackle any weather condition head-on!

At Ace Plant, we have over 50 years of experience in plant hire and sales. If you’re looking for winter equipment for your site, or have any questions, please get in contact with our friendly and helpful team by calling 01908 562191 or emailing [email protected]. Alternatively fill out a contact form and we’ll aim to respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

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