The end of summer is the best time to set up construction sites for cold weather. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) keeps guidelines up to date to keep workers safe. Are there any cold weather safety requirements? OSHA has not set specific safety requirements for working in freezing environments. However, exposing workers to extremely cold weather for long periods of time could cause serious physical harm. This conflicts with OSHA regulations (Section A(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970). Therefore, employers are accountable for the safety of their workers. OSHA advises the following four ways to keep employees out of harm’s way during dangerously cold workdays.
Training on Cold Weather Safety
Workers should know how to recognize the effects of being exposed to freezing temperatures. This is why employers must train them on working through hazardous conditions. Some of these conditions might include slippery roads and gusty, cold winds. One of the worst dangers workers face in extreme cold weather is cold stress. Cold stress results in cold-related illnesses and injuries. Workers should also be trained on recognizing symptoms to prevent injuries or illnesses.
Proper Tools (engineering controls for cold weather)
To reduce the likelihood of cold stress, employers could set engineering controls in place. As an example, electric heaters could be used to keep the workplace warm and comfortable for employees. For the construction industry, there are many types of heaters available to successfully complete projects in cold weather. The use of these benefits workers and decreases their exposure to hazardous working conditions.
Work Practices for Cold Weather Safety
Implementing work practices that ensure worker safety is crucial to preventing injuries and illnesses. OSHA advises employers to consider providing workers with the right equipment and protection from cold weather. Employers must also keep weather conditions in mind when sending them out and limit exposure time to very cold temperatures. They should be constantly monitoring weather conditions to ensure cold weather safety. Be sure to keep an eye on workers and provide them with warm liquids. This will ensure their well-being while on the job. Finally, it’s recommended to optimize the flow of communication. This is crucial in case of emergencies that may occur due to hazardous working conditions.
Proper Gear (warm clothing)
One of the top risk factors of cold stress is dressing improperly while working in cold weather. OSHA does not have specific requirements set for ordinary clothing besides personal protective equipment (PPE) when applicable. However, employers should still give workers winter weather gear to protect them from the dangers of cold stress. A few layers of wool or synthetic clothing would be a great. A hat capable of covering ears is a necessity. A knit mask for the face would also be helpful. Insulated and waterproof gloves will protect hands from frostbite. Insulated boots are needed to protect the feet.
The On Site Solution
Even though OSHA does not have cold weather safety requirements, they do have guidelines for employers to use in the workplace. These guidelines would best prepare their workers who work in cold weather. At On Site Companies, we can provide a wide range of high quality portable heaters to keep your works safe through cold weather. These heaters would also keep your construction site operational and productive during winter season. Call us today or request a quote for the best temporary heating solutions.