Working and Staying Safe this Winter
With the seasonal clock change having taken place on 27th October 2019, now is the time to assess the impact on working conditions on site, as the evenings get darker and the winter weather comes in. During the winter months the number of accidents increases, both in and out of work. In this article we’ll take a look at the best practices for working and staying safe this winter.
- Working in the winter can be quite unpleasant at times; you start work in the dark and go home in the dark when it is often wet and cold.
- What starts off as a simple task can sometimes turn out to be a very hazardous activity.
- Activities can take longer to complete during the winter, due to the working conditions.
- Take your time! Allowances should be made when planning work activities during the winter season.
We need to reduce risks by planning ahead.
Personal Health & Wellbeing
- Reduced daylight can make people more susceptible to being tired. It can affect mental alertness at work, when operating plant and whilst driving vehicles.
- Working with steel in freezing temperatures requires extra care, to ensure that ice burns or ‘contact’ burns are avoided.
- Layers of thin clothing are warmer than a thick jumper or coat. Thermal underwear will also give good protection against the cold.
- Ensure you are wearing the correct PPE including an approved liner under your safety helmet, thick warm socks and safety glove liners.
- Ensure waterproofs are readily available, clean and in good condition.
- Ensure regular breaks are taken and opportunities to rest and warm up.
- Ensure you take plenty of hot drinks during each shift and consume a hot meal.
- Ensure weather conditions and the working environment are risk assessed.
- Take extra care whilst undertaking manual handling activities in the cold. Warm up
before undertaking any manual handling.
- Ensure waterproofs are clean and in good condition. Be SAFE – Be SEEN.
Driving & Vehicles
- Vehicle drivers must take care when manoeuvring, only doing so when it’s safe.
- They should ensure reversing aids are in good working order.
- When driving in the dark or adverse weather, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front as this will give you more reaction time for braking.
- Make sure all vehicles are maintained, checking all lights are working and the lenses are clean.
- Check tyres are in good condition, windows clean and ensure the washer bottle is topped up.
- When driving home ensure that you take adequate rest breaks to reduce the effects of fatigue. Share the driving with another authorised Sheet Piling (UK) Ltd Ltd employee where possible.
- Icy conditions can be extremely hazardous for pedestrians resulting in an increase in slips, trips and falls.
- Pedestrian walkways, site entrances and roads must be gritted to avoid people slipping.
- When working on the piling platform additional care must be taken in icy or snow conditions.
- Remember – Snow not only covers our plant and equipment, but it can also cover holes or changes in the piling platform.
The first photo below highlights the effects of working in the dark under site lighting. Note the reduced visibility and the ‘shadows’ created by the plant and equipment. Working and staying safe this winter can be greatly helped with better lighting and better placement of flood lights as can be seen in the second photo.
- Ensure provisions are made to light all working areas outside daylight hours.
- Keep all signage and barriers clean so they remain visible.
- Maintain sufficient lighting for pedestrian walkways to prevent people tripping over
in the dark.
- Preparations must be made for working in the winter months including contingencies when conditions onsite change or deteriorate, sometimes rapidly.
- These should be explained in pre-start briefings with the opportunity to feedback any local hazard observations.
- Assess the risk to personnel from wind, rain or snow particularly if they are working at height.
- STOP activities when necessary – working safe and staying safe this winter is a priority.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Sheet Piling (UK) Limited is one of the UK's leading piling contractors. Owning and operating a comprehensive range of specialist piling equipment Sheet Piling (UK) Ltd also carry extensive stocks of new and used piles enabling rapid reaction to any urgent requirements or emergency situations.