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Construction is a dangerous enough industry in the best of times. Winter months bring a whole new slew of potential dangers. Rain, sleet, snow, exposure to cold, damage to equipment, slipping hazards, limited visibility – all of these things significantly increase the likelihood of illness or injury during winter months. Below, we offer a few tips for keeping everyone safe on construction sites during the winter months. If you or someone you care about has been hurt on a construction site in New York, call a seasoned NYC construction accident attorney for advice and representation.
If you are working in a location prone to experiencing severe weather, it is important to keep on top of weather reports for the area. The last thing anyone wants is to have a bunch of construction workers trapped on a dangerous site in the middle of a blizzard. If there are severe storm warnings, everyone should be given adequate time to clear the site and head out.
Conducting daily inspections of a worksite is always a good idea, but it is especially necessary during the winter months. Each location should be monitored for moisture, freezing, ice, snow, and other hazards. Salt the workspaces to ensure ice is melted without creating a slipping hazard. Clear snow from scaffolding and other areas. Regular inspections should be conducted throughout the day to avoid unnecessary injury.
Prolonged exposure to severely cold temperatures can easily lead to injury or even disability. During especially cold months, workers should be encouraged to take frequent breaks in order to limit exposure to the cold. Damage can be done to fingers, toes, skin, ears, and other extremities if workers are forced to push it. Exposure can also easily lead to sickness.
Workers who are not on the clock should have a warm, safe location to get away from inclement weather. Workers should be given a heated tent, trailer, or indoor area to recover from the effects of the cold. They should be able to drink warm liquids and change out of wet clothes. Extra break time is worth the reduction in injuries and illnesses. If portable heaters are used, make sure the area is properly ventilated and that all fire hazards are accounted for.
Construction workers should always be given the proper PPE for a given job. During winter months, that includes protection from the cold: warm jackets, gloves, heavy socks and boots, goggles, and anything else necessary to protect from the cold. Hard hats should be worn to protect from falling icicles and injury caused by slip-and-falls. Padded clothing should generally be worn both to prevent injury and to limit exposure to cold. Workers should be regularly reminded to utilize proper PPE.
Even working tools can take extra time to get going in the cold. Equipment manufacturers should have provided instructions on how to warm up heavy machinery in the cold. Failing to properly do so can lead to equipment failing or locking up at inopportune times, stalling work or leading to serious injury.
Fluids, oils, and other liquids should also be accounted for. They may have frozen overnight and require heating before the equipment can be used. They may need to be replaced more regularly due to the weather, or specialty fluids may be necessary for use in cold weather. Tools involving air compression should also be specifically inspected and accounted for; the weather may cause them to expand or contract in an unusual manner. Anything that might be affected by the cold should be discussed and treated appropriately.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a New York City construction site and you need effective, trial-ready representation to pursue your claims, contact the NYC construction accident lawyer Leandros A. Vrionedes for a free consultation on your case at 212-889-9362.