The Dangers Of Working Around Snow And Ice
Some of us may be sad that the first snowfall of the year finally has arrived and looks like it’s here to stay and some of us might be disappointed that we aren’t going to have the first snowless winter in history, but whatever camp you’re in, the reality is that there are real safety concerns for construction workers that are the result of snow and ice.
First, if you haven’t already done so, read our previous blog on preparing and working in the cold, which you can find HERE.
But what else should we be concerned with during the winter construction season in Fort Saskatchewan, Edmonton, and Alberta? We, as construction workers, must be aware of the hazards that are present on the job site, which include slippery surfaces or roads, dangers from strong winds, and protecting workers against the elements and low temperatures.
One thing we learned in a past blog, which you can read HERE, was that slips, falls, or trips are the #1 leading cause of fatal construction injuries! This means it’s imperative to watch out for icy surfaces, to clear snow and ice from walking surfaces immediately, and to spread de-icers or salts as soon as possible after winter storms.
During winter, walking on snow or ice is going to be unavoidable, so workers should be trained to wear non-slip, water-resistant footwear.
Always try to avoid working at any heights that have ice or snow on them, as there is an immediate danger of slipping and falling, but if you have to work at an elevated height, always utilize required fall protection, proper training, or ladders.
You will likely have to carry out snow removal at some point, and that can be a strenuous activity that can cause exhaustion, dehydration, or back injuries. For the proper ergonomics of snow removal, it might be helpful to read this previous article on ergonomics, which you can read HERE.
Hope this helps you ‘weather’ the storm that is outdoor construction during the winter!