Safety Spotlight: Cold Weather

Safety Spotlight: Cold Weather

January is an excellent time of year to discuss cold weather safety tips. Neumann’s Safety Manager, James Machamer, is here to help you stay safe and warm on the job!

Winter snow has settled across Central Iowa construction projects and provides an excellent reminder to take extra precautions while working in freezing conditions. Like with any project, it’s essential to communicate with your team, look out for one another, and alter your tasks to minimize weather impact. To safely work during the challenging winter months…

  1. Watch out for slip, trip, and fall hazards like ice, snow-covered equipment, and snow-covered materials.
  2. Prevent frostbite and hypothermia, which occur rapidly, especially when the wind chill is factored into the forecast.
  3. Ensure proper winter equipment is always available.

Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards

To eliminate slip hazards from ice, apply ice melt or sand. Even better, eliminate areas where water can pool or divert water from common walking areas. Always use caution when walking outdoors–slow down and watch your steps!

Frostbite and Hypothermia

During winter construction, there are two significant risks we need to be on guard for: hypothermia and frostbite. To prevent these situations, always ensure that you and your team are covered in appropriate outdoor gear and take frequent breaks in warm, dry areas out of the wind. Winter injuries can occur in less than 30 minutes, and when the wind chill hits -16° F, these should not be taken lightly.

Hypothermia Warning Signs

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Clumsiness
  • Low energy
  • Confusion

Frostbite Warning Signs

  • Numb, cold skin
  • Red, white, grayish, or blue skin
  • Hard or waxy-looking skin
  • Clumsiness due to joint or muscle stiffness

Proper Winter Equipment

Having proper winter equipment on job sites will help keep everyone safe. Stocking hats, gloves, hoodies, coats, and boots are essential, along with your PPE attire. Salt and sand are the obvious necessities, as they help avoid slips and falls, but heaters are also important to have on hand! They are great for standing near to warm up on a break and help warm the entire area. Heaters must be properly placed, and any fuel must be stored per OSHA’s standards. Keep the site around heaters and fuel free of fire hazards. And if a heater is being used indoors, the air quality must be monitored.

Neumann is committed to safety year-round. These winter safety protocols are an effective way to ensure the well-being of our team!