The winter season can be so unpredictable. In the case of a construction worksite, it is potentially deadly. This weather season is rapidly becoming harsher, that even the simplest tasks become more and more difficult. During this season, most of your projects and team will get some rain and snow. Winter is really in full swing. With that being said, is your jobsite, project, and construction team ready for this season? And have you laid out already your best prepping plans using the best construction inventory management software?
Read this blog to discover some of the best practices to help you prep your construction sites and team for winter weather. It is best to review and learn as many of these best ways as possible.
1. Prepare for work stoppages
It is unreasonable and quite unfair to assume that there can be no problems working during the winter season. As part of your preparations for winter schedule work, you need to plan for any unexpected days off due to some icy conditions, bad visibility, and high winds. If you are planning, you might be able to work it out with your construction crew. For instance, if you are snowed out on Tuesday, you can make it up on Sunday.
2. Plan for Icy Conditions
Laying down erosion control blankets or installing a fence is most likely impossible to do correctly, especially when the ground is frozen. Hence, plan your projects carefully so that you can take care immediately of any ground-related procedures before the ground freezes. Ensure also to be prepared for the muddy conditions and take care of that. It often occurs when the ground begins to thaw.
A little planning can help you to keep your equipment/machinery from getting bogged down.
3. Be Careful with Snow Plowing
Roads and some sections of the construction job site that need to be plowed must be marked. Doing so will not let any of your electrical equipment be left behind. Being trapped in snow and ice for months can render your electrical equipment useless. Hence, make sure your team knows where the plow sections are.
4. Check gutters and drains
Check stormwater gutters and drains even before the onset of wet weather. Oftentimes, construction debris blocks water drains. In many instances, these drains are often damaged by construction work or procedures that are not done correctly. While the weather is still good, test and clean gutters and drains to ensure no blockages and all functioning.
Take note that blocked drains may lead to property damage and flooding. Nobody wants to go outside in a strong winter storm to fix an issue that must have been sorted when the weather is still good.
5. Complete the Gear
Make sure that there is enough stock of cold weather and wet weather gear. Your team has to work in cold and wet conditions. Without the right gear, your construction projects can lose time and productivity. Track your tools, gears, equipment, and other things you and your team use during winter jobs. By simply using online inventory software with project management features, you will have far better traceability and full access to every item’s details and history.
6. Reduced work hours
The sun is rising later on and setting earlier, with lesser daylight. Consider cutting off working hours for your construction team, especially when working in areas prone to extreme winter storms. Regularly monitor weather warnings while checking your crew’s working hours.
A couple of hours warning can provide enough time to lock the project down, ensuring equipment and materials are safely stowed away. But above all, your workers are safely out of danger. Send instant messages and update your whole crew with the use of subcontractor scheduling software.
This software solution serves as a central hub, keeping everyone from your team connected in one place.
7. Avoid walking in icy conditions
Even on the flatter surface, scaffolding installed on the icy ground may slide around during regular use, especially if it is not properly anchored. Since you cannot anchor your crews to the ground, you need to ensure that your employees have the correct type of footwear to work in icy conditions.
8. Prepare for a Warm Base
For instance, your construction site is in the middle of nowhere, and you may find that you do not have the main place that your team can come and sit indoors. This is worst and critical when working during cold seasons. You have to prepare for a warm base. Have a portable office/tent that can become a break room for your construction team to get extra warmth.
9. Always train for winter
One of the most definitive and clear rules OSHA has when it comes to winter prepping for a construction site is to make sure that all employees are trained on how to operate tools and equipment during the winter months.
According to OSHA, you should train all equipment and vehicle drives for winter driving, ensuring that all operators are experienced and licensed. The agency even suggests using open spaces like parking lots to practice navigating icy surfaces, keeping vehicles properly maintained and sufficiently stocked with emergency items like flares, flashlights, blankets, nonperishable food, water, and cables.
10. Ensuring the structural integrity of the materials
Winter construction cold-weather operations are not just about safety. While most construction jobs can be carried out with sufficient properly placed warming equipment, some of the operations like masonry and concrete-related work may take longer and, worst may fail if the proper precautions are not taken.
The same thing goes for paint. The life of paint can be lessened and become susceptible to issues such as mold growth. And so the rule of the thumb with any cold-weather construction material installation is – you must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure that the finished product works well as expected.
The Most Important PPE for Your Construction Workers during winter
When working outdoors, particularly in freezing temperatures, PPE must defend your construction crew against the cold weather in addition to the many risks associated with the job. For most PPE, this only means added insulation, resistance to cold, and other enhanced features.
You need to upgrade your company’s PPE program and provide the best PPEs for your construction crew.
To mainly protect your workers against frostbite and to ensure that work can be completed comfortably. A pair of insulated and warm work gloves are a necessity in cold conditions.
Heavy-Duty Work Boots
Feet can be easily affected by frostbite during a harsh winter season. This is particularly true for your crew members who might need to stand in slush or snow for an entire workday. In conditions like this, work boots should be resilient, high-quality, and durable. The best option for heavy work during winter is felt-lined, leather-topped, rubber-bottomed boots.
Hard Hat Liners
Cold weather liners have to be provided to keep your crew’s heads, ears, and necks warm when wearing hard hats. In very extreme cold, a fully-rounded headcover made of knit or flannel must be considered. Hoods can provide limited insulation against rain, wind, or the cold.
The sun reflects off the snow. Your worker’s eyes should remain fully protected to avoid snow blindness and damages from UV sun rays. Foamed-sealed and polarized safety glasses with anti-fog provide the best eye protection from the chill, wind, debris, and sun glare.
A multi-layering approach to clothing is critical to protecting your crew members during winter conditions. Layer 1 is a polypropylene material to quickly draw sweat away from the body, keeping your worker’s skin dry. Layer 2 is usually an insulating layer of polar fleece or wool-type materials. Layer 3 is a similar nylon material to block the wind.
Anti-Exposure Work Suits
If the environment your workers are working in is extremely wet or cold, or perhaps they are exposed to harsh cold/warm conditions for long periods, an anti-exposure suit prevents hypothermia and is waterproof. Since the negative health effects of cold weather progress much more rapidly whenever people are damp or wet, it is important to help your crew members avoid getting soaked during the winter months.
Make Use of Construction Scheduling Software
Winter can create a long list of issues that you and your construction team must deal with to keep the construction site safe and maintain productivity. Despite the fact that your company has many years of experience working in cold weather, it never hurts to review your prepping plans for the winter season to ensure that you have everything covered.
If you do not have a comprehensive and well-written prepping plan for winter, then this is the best time to create one as the winter season is coming. Make sure to incorporate your plans with the latest modern technologies designed for project management for construction.
Pro Crew Schedule is the perfect project management tool you are looking for. It defines your project workflow and emphasizes your plans and prepping to help you sort things properly. It has a powerful set of features that wonder in every aspect of your project, people and overall construction business.
Ready to level up your prepping and project management? Get started with Pro Crew Schedule today. Request for a 30-day Free Trial!
If you are planning to prepare your construction site for the winter, you must make sure to take on the prepping tips and best practices cited above. If there are any apparent risks to safety, you should deal with them accordingly. No one ever wants to work in the cold and harsh weather. Yet, to get the job done, it is often necessary.