Construction work is important work. Construction workers provide vital services to cities and work under dangerous conditions. In winter, construction workers face an entirely new set of potential hazards and dangers that come with what can be a particularly grueling season in the north part of the country. In the hopes that bringing awareness to winter construction site hazards will keep more workers safe, we will discuss some of them here.
Winter Construction Site Hazards
While dressing appropriately and including extra layers in the winter work wardrobe is important for construction workers, there are plenty of other things that need to be considered. Cold stress is a particularly common hazard on winter construction sites. When temperatures fall close to or below freezing, skin and internal body temperatures can quickly drop. The wind, along with the dampness that can come with body sweat can significantly contribute to the body losing heat at an alarming rate. When this happens, body tissue can be severely damaged. Cold stress injuries may include trench foot, which occurs when circulation in the feet stops. It can also result in frostbite, which involves the skin and underlying tissue freezing and, possibly, resulting in permanent injury. It may also lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia may render a worker unconscious and can even prove fatal.
Icy surfaces are also a winter construction site hazards that must be properly monitored. Even under normal conditions, falls on construction sites are common causes of serious injury. Fall victims may sustain bone fractures and head injuries, as well as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more. When the construction site has slippery surfaces due to snow and ice, these areas should be cleared right away. As soon as possible after a snowfall, de-icer should be spread to prevent icy surfaces from developing.
Another prominent hazard on a winter construction site is snow removal. Construction workers are often tasked with removing snow accumulated in places such as roofs, decks, and scaffolding. This places workers at dangerous heights in slippery conditions. Furthermore, climbing a ladder under these conditions can be a great risk as a ladder may skid on a slippery surface and fall. During snow removal on a roof that is under construction, the combined weight of the snow, ice, workers, and the equipment may even cause the roof to collapse.
New Yorkers are all too familiar with the hazards of winter driving but do not let this make you complacent. Construction workers on worksites in roadways or by roadways can easily be the victims of winter drivers who are not properly employing the safety rules for winter driving. This means construction workers are at risk of not only being hurt when they themselves are driving, but also when others near the construction site are driving.
Construction workers may find handling heavy powered equipment to be second-nature, a part of the job. They should, however, remain vigilant in safely operating machinery. With winter comes the need to use things like snow blowers. These dangerous pieces of equipment must be handled with the proper level of care. Snowblowers should be properly grounds so that workers avoid electric shock. Snowblowers should also be disconnected from power sources prior to maintenance or cleaning. When proper safety measures are not taken, snow blowers can lead to serious injuries such as loss of limb.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured on a construction site, you may be entitled to compensation beyond what may be provided by workers’ compensation. Talk to Attorney Michael LoGiudice about your legal options. Contact us today.