Cold, wet weather can present extreme challenges for workers on building job sites, both inside and outside the structure. While Chattanooga winters are much milder when compared to northern climates, working in colder temperatures with rapid weather changes possible requires a good safety plan.
When wind speed increases and temperatures dive, heat leaves the body more rapidly. Prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to hypothermia and other cold-related injuries.
While hypothermia is more likely at very cold temperatures, it can occur even at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit if a person becomes chilled from rain or sweat.
Working outside during cold temperatures requires the right gear, including boots, heavy coats, hats and gloves.
Dressing in layers with a moisture-wicking base layer will allow for better handling of temperature fluctuations and keep workers safe throughout the day, no matter the temperature.
Wintry weather can also present dangers to those working inside. While staying warm is important, space heaters do increase fire risk.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is another danger when using fuel-burning equipment and tools indoors. Sources of carbon monoxide can include anything that uses combustion to operate, such as power tools, compressors, pumps, welding equipment, portable generators, space heaters, furnaces, gas-powered forklifts and motorized vehicles.
These dangers increase when indoor areas are sealed tightly or don’t have proper ventilation. Taking appropriate safety measures for proper ventilation, installing carbon monoxide detectors and monitoring heaters and fuel-burning equipment consistently should be a top priority.
Additionally, power cords for portable equipment should be inspected for frayed wiring and space around heaters should be clear of debris and objects.
Even in the south, when it comes to working through the winter months, taking the time to survey or upgrade your safety plan can help keep workers and the jobsite safe throughout the season.
For more information on worker safety and how the HBAGC can benefit your business, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s website at www.HBAGC.net.