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Winters Effects on Construction Jobs

Construction vehicle in a snowy day

Winter is here, and the constant cold is quickly approaching. For the retail industry, business is surely booming this time of year, but those in the construction industry may soon experience a frustrating winter slowdown, however.

Why Do Construction Projects Slow Down in the Winter?

Winter presents a unique set of challenges to the construction industry. The cold weather, snow and ice, and frozen grounds can make projects more expensive and difficult to complete in the winter.
For example, project stages that involve concrete are impacted by winter. Concrete footings can’t be installed when the ground is frozen, and concrete must be treated for winter curing to prevent it from weakening. Fuel costs increase during the winter, making equipment more expensive to run and threatening budgets.
Because other phases can’t begin until certain intial stages are complete, the entire project can be affected by the winter.

How Does Winter Affect Construction Workers?

Winter makes construction jobs more hazardous as well. In 2014, there were 42,480 injuries caused by ice, sleet, and snow that resulted in at least one missed day of work. Construction workers are like gears in a well-oiled machine; one missed worker can upset the workflow of an entire project, resulting in further delays.
As work slows down, so does the demand for workers. A lot of construction workers offset this challenge by traveling to warmer states to find work in the winter. Unfortunately, traveling to other states is not an option for every contractor.

Winter Construction Safety Tips

Winter construction projects come with their unique set of challenges and hazards, from icy surfaces to freezing temperatures. Ensuring the safety of construction workers during these colder months is paramount. Here are some essential winter construction safety tips to help overcome the cold challenges:

  1. Dress Appropriately:Workers should wear multiple layers of clothing, water-resistant or waterproof outer layers, and insulated gloves and boots. It’s crucial to keep the body warm and dry to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.
  2. Implement a Warm-Up Routine:Encourage workers to start their day with light exercises to warm up their muscles, reducing the risk of injuries.
  3. Ensure Proper Site Maintenance:Regularly remove snow and ice from walkways, scaffolding, and work areas. Use salt or sand to improve traction on surfaces prone to icing.
  4. Promote Frequent Breaks:Provide a warm, sheltered area for workers to take regular breaks. Staying warm and hydrated helps maintain energy levels and focus.
  5. Monitor Weather Conditions:Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan work schedules around extreme cold or storm warnings. Safety should always come first.
  6. Use Safe Heating Devices:If portable heaters are used on-site, ensure they are designed for industrial use and placed away from flammable materials.
  7. Educate Workers:Conduct safety meetings to discuss winter hazards and the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE). Knowledge is key to prevention.
  8. Check Equipment Regularly:Cold weather can affect the performance of machinery and tools. Perform regular checks and maintenance to ensure they are in good working condition.
  9. Stay Visible:Shorter days mean reduced visibility. Ensure workers wear reflective clothing and that the site is well-lit.
  10. Plan for Emergencies:Have a clear emergency plan in place for winter-specific scenarios, such as hypothermia, frostbite, or snowstorms. Quick responses can save lives.

By following these winter construction safety tips, you can help protect your team from the unique risks posed by cold weather conditions, ensuring that projects continue safely and efficiently throughout the winter months.

Avoiding Dangers of Working Construction in the Winter

Working construction during the winter months introduces a range of hazards, from icy surfaces to bitterly cold temperatures. To ensure the safety and well-being of construction workers, it’s crucial to recognize and mitigate these dangers. Here’s a concise guide on avoiding the dangers of working construction in the winter:

  1. Prevent Slips and Falls:Ice and snow can make work areas treacherously slippery. Regularly clear walkways, scaffolds, and workspaces of snow and ice, and spread sand or salt to improve traction.
  2. Combat Cold Stress:Prolonged exposure to cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot. Encourage workers to dress in warm, layered, and water-resistant clothing, take frequent breaks in warm areas, and stay hydrated.
  3. Ensure Equipment Safety:Cold weather can affect the performance and safety of tools and machinery. Conduct pre-use inspections to ensure they are in good working order and safe to use in lower temperatures.
  4. Maintain Clear Visibility:With shorter daylight hours, ensure work areas are well-lit to prevent accidents. Workers should wear high-visibility clothing to be easily seen in low-light conditions.
  5. Educate and Train Workers:Provide training on recognizing the signs of cold stress, the proper use of winter safety gear, and the importance of following safety protocols in cold weather.
  6. Plan for Emergencies:

By proactively addressing these winter-specific dangers, construction sites can maintain a safe working environment, ensuring that projects progress safely and efficiently despite the challenges posed by the winter season.

How Can PlanHub Help You Find Work?

Not every project or construction worker can wait for the spring thaw. Deadlines and budgetary constraints still exist during the winter, and both can be exceeded if schedules aren’t closely adhered to. Construction projects are costly, and bills don’t hibernate for the winter. Projects need to be completed as soon as possible so that investors can see returns on their investments and construction workers can be paid. Fortunately, there are construction projects available on PlanHub year-round.
PlanHub is an online bid management application. Our cloud-based software allows general contractors to post projects, share plans and files, and receive bids all in one platform. Projects are constantly being uploaded to the system, making it easier than ever for subcontractors to find work, even in the winter. Unlike job search engines, every project invitation is reviewed by a PlanHub Project Coordinator to ensure that erroneous, fake, and duplicate content never gets posted.
To find out more about how PlanHub can help you find contract work, even in the harsh winter season, contact us today.

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