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Dealing with weather conditions when you work in construction

When the majority of the work you do is outdoors, your no.1 enemy can be the weather. Normally, if health and safety regulators deem the site too dangerous, workers will not be allowed on site.

Know your limits

Your Construction Manager plays a role in ensuring your utmost safety on site. Any conditions which pose a high-risk to yourself should be flagged as laws protect you from putting yourself in threatening situations. Ideally, the best working conditions for a construction worker would be environments that don’t affect your internal body temperature – but when you live in England, you’ll be so lucky!

Quick tips to staying safe on site

  • Bring food and drink
  • Take short and regular breaks
  • Wear appropriate protection
  • Don’t take risks

Come rain or shine, we’ve got you covered with tips on surviving hard-hitting conditions;

Strong winds

Strong winds not only affect the workers but also the materials on site as they can be blown away if not secured down properly. In previous years, strong winds have been responsible for many destructions of sites. For the workers, risks are increased because of dust which causes irritation and reduced visibility. With construction sites using plenty of hazardous elements, dust spread by the wind can also damage the environment if not handled carefully.

Tips: Make sure all equipment is secure, prepare to stop working if conditions get too bad, wear the necessary safety gear. 

 

Heavy rain

With lack of roofing and shelter, heavy rain is extremely unpleasant to work in causing discomfort and reduced visibility. Heavy rain can also result in a lot of mud on the ground, further threatening safety conditions with the risk of slipping. As metal acts as a conductor, precautions have to be taken to ensure lightening is not a threat, particularly to scaffolders or crane operators.

Tips: ensure you’re wearing an outer layer of waterproof clothing to remain as dry as possible, take advantage of the sheltered areas when you can.  If conditions are wet, use tools with non-slip handles to avoid accidents.

 

Cold

Staying warm is a key part of efficiently completing the tasks at hand and abiding by health and safety as it prevents hypothermia, trench foot and frostbite. Vehicle operators also face their own challenges when it comes to the cold as machinery can malfunction in extreme weather conditions.

Tips: Wear plenty of layers and thermal wear if necessary and make sure your neck is covered. Take regular breaks consisting of eating and drinking to help maintain your body temperature, which helps avoid illness. 

 

Fog

Fog poses a particularly big threat, reducing visibility for everyone on site. It’s particularly dangerous when there are vehicles on site both for the driver and workers. Without having clear visibility, there is a high risk of colliding and slower reaction times. Tripping hazards also become more of a potential risk.

Tips: Anti-fog equipment is available, however is not always effective, your Construction Manager will make a call whether to postpone work until fog has cleared.  

 

Heat

Whilst it can seem to be the more ideal weather condition, high temperatures can be very damaging for labourer’s health, inflicting heat stroke and dehydration when outside for too long. In contrast to the cold, machinery has a tendency to overheat so take precautions when using them and make sure you leave electronics in the shade.

Tips: Make sure you’re wearing your PPE and cover yourself with sunscreen, take regular breaks and make sure you drink plenty of water!

McGinley CEP Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 7216155. Registered office: 56 Clarendon Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 1DB.

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