Lower temperatures bring particular risks to the work of building, making it important to gear up. Though we may tune out when we hear the latest storm warning, or get a bit lackadaisical thinking that we’ve “been there, done that,” preparation remains best practice. Here are some pointers from experts—and a forecast too.
What Kind of Winter Is Headed Our Way?
Though of course the forecast can change in a heartbeat, Construction Business Owner
shares this birds eye view from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
Winter conditions this year are predicted to be drier than average across the South, with wetter-than-average conditions for areas of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest…Jon Gottschalck, chief, Operational Prediction Branch, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said, ‘“Drought conditions are now present across approximately 59% of the country, but parts of the Western U.S. and southern Great Plains will continue to be the hardest hit this winter.”
Risk management experts specializing in construction, share these common complications construction businesses experience during the cold weather months—and ways to avoid them:
From a health and safety standpoint, there is the potential for frostbite and hypothermia ….Early recognition of symptoms and knowledge of the treatments can be critical to preventing potential serious health issues.…Other complications might include snow and ice buildup around the exterior of the site and in areas of the project that are exposed to the elements….Have a plan to remove snow in areas where workers have access, and treat the walking surfaces with a sand or salt mixture to mitigate slip-and-fall hazards….…Plan ahead so that you are not scrambling to coordinate cleanup the morning after a storm….Think about access to temporary heat, which may require installation by a licensed tradesperson….Preventing fire hazards is a key consideration when planning for temporary heat sources… Frozen pipes are also a concern….Like fire losses, water intrusion can cause catastrophic damage….That’s why it’s critical to have a site-protection plan in place….
Plans for Protecting People
It’s best to take precautions to keep workers safe and healthy before cold weather or winter storms or freezing conditions arrive. Thinking ahead includes:
Putting a snow-and-ice management plan in place for your projects. Assign tasks, such as snow removal in walkways, to team members and include backup members so everyone knows how they can help during inclement weather. Think about where you are working, the type of access to the jobsite and the availability of parking during a storm. For example, if workers are parking in a designated lot, is there a plan for clearing the snow or do you need to identify a backup location for everyone in the event of snow accumulation? It’s also important to identify areas within the site that are protected from the elements and heated so workers can take periodic breaks throughout the day.
It’s also best practice to plan ahead related to heavy equipment: “Work with the vendor or manufacturer to understand safe use, storage and maintenance during winter months and to uncover potential ancillary risks. For example, if a vehicle or piece of equipment needs to be plugged in, can this be done without creating a hazard to an employee, plow or snowblower?”
Plans for Your Business?
As you plot your course for success in 2023, remember, Colonial Surety is here to help:
Qualify for The Partnership Account® from Colonial Surety, and you’ll have a surety line of credit—in writing, plus:
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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.