Construction workers know just how cold it can get in New York in winter. This time of year, not only are they focusing on safety while completing a project, but they also face the added challenge from winter conditions such as strong winds, icy surfaces and bitter cold.
Their work is dangerous enough already, but winter conditions can contribute to on-site incidents leading to further injury to construction workers.
Hypothermia, fractures and more
Employers must protect their construction workers, providing necessary safety training about wintertime work hazards. Such training should include recognizing dangers, how to properly use construction equipment and wearing the proper protective gear and warm clothing.
Here are some winter injuries faced by construction workers:
- Cold stress: Frostbite and hypothermia are possible when working in bitterly cold conditions.
- Fractures, traumatic head injury, concussions: Such injuries may arise after slips, trips and falls from slippery and icy surfaces, ladders, rooftops and scaffolding.
- Musculoskeletal injuries: Overexertion may surface from lifting of construction materials and removal of snow at a site, leading to injuries such as back, neck and knee pain along with muscle and tendon sprains.
- Injuries associated with on-site driving crashes: Winter driving conditions also surface on construction sites, so workers must be aware of the dangers caused by strong winds, slippery roads and low visibility. A worker walking on the site may be struck by a construction equipment, or two vehicles could crash.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Heaters, generators, engines and tools powered by gasoline lead to certain levels of carbon monoxide. The odorless and colorless fumes may overcome workers.
- Electrocution: In working at certain heights on roofs, construction workers may encounter power lines. In addition, downed power lines may lead to tragedy.
Winter weather adds another layer of hazards for construction workers. Employers must stress safety, providing them with a workplace absent of dangers.
Employers must focus on safety
What are some other things that employers can do to protect construction workers? They can provide warm spaces for breaks, encourage them to properly dress for conditions and make sure workers stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Safety is at the root of these rules.