5 Top Tips for Staying Warm On-site
Be sure to stay warm on-site! Each season presents a different set of environmental challenges for the Construction industry. Winter, with its unpredictable weather and plummeting temperatures, is one of the toughest. Cold temperatures can have a significant impact on the health and safety of employees. Therefore, it is essential to stay warm on-site and be fully equipped to deal with the Winter weather. Not only to safeguard your workers but to have a positive impact on productivity.
TEMPERATURE GUIDANCE FROM THE HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE (HSE)
The working environment:
According to the Health and Safety Executive, there is a legal obligation for employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature within the workplace environment. Approved code of practice guidelines suggests that indoors, the minimum temperature should be at least 16 degrees Celsius (13 degrees Celsius if the work involves rigorous physical effort).
the outdoor working environment
Whilst the HSE does not have dedicated guidelines for working in temperatures below 13°, working outdoors during the cold winters months needs to be suitably managed. If not, workers health could be put at risk from Cold Stress (these are cold-related illnesses that stem from when the body cannot maintain its regular temperature. Frostbite and hypothermia are both cold stress illnesses).
Whilst we cannot control the winter weather, we can control how we prepare for working in challenging conditions. There are some simple things employers and construction workers can do to reduce the likelihood of risks associated with colder weather.
5 TOP TIPS FOR STAYING WARM ON-SITE
1. layer up for maximum insulation
When the temperature drops, layering up is your best friend. Rather than relying on a single heavy garment, opt for multiple layers that can trap and maintain heat. Waterproof and windproof outer layers, with thermal inner layers close to the skin will help keep warmth in and cold out.
It is also crucial to ensure that all workers have the correct personal protective equipment to enable them to do their work safely whilst remaining warm. For example, the use of thermal liners or fleeces for safety helmets to keep workers warm without compromising the level of PPE.
Certain body parts need particular care, with hands and feet more prone to cold stress illnesses. Therefore, glove and warm safety boots are essential – ensuring that any PPE remains compliant with health and safety standards.
2. TAKE REGULAR BREAKS IN WARM AREAS
When the cold becomes particularly biting, it is important to take breaks in warm areas. Designating a comfortable break space equipped with heating facilities for you are your team is an effective way to combat the cold. Not only does this promote the well-being of your employees allowing them to warm-up, rest, and recharge – but also helps prevents cold related injuries and illnesses. Hiring in temporary heating solutions is a great way to ensure that these areas are kept warm for workers.
3. STAY HYDRATED AND NOURISHED
Ensuring that you maintain your body’s internal temperature is just as important as protecting it from external elements. Be sure to stay well-hydrated by drinking warm beverages like tea, coffee, or soup throughout the day. Providing these for your workers is an effective way to maintain your internal temperature, whilst also boosting morale. Fuelling your body with nutritious, energy-rich foods is another way to generate heat, with the use of portable, thermo-insulated containers also ensuring your drinks and meals stay warmer for longer.
4. UTILISE TEMPORARY AND PORTABLE HEATING SOLUTIONS
It is often just as cold indoors as it is outdoors on construction sites. Hiring in portable and temporary heating solutions is a great way to ensure those on-site are kept warm. Numerous research studies show how the cold effects workers, with the Cornell University highlighting how workers who are cold are likely to make more errors and consequently, increasing a worker’s hourly cost by up to 10%.
Artificial heaters also have other uses, including reducing any potential delays due to longer drying times on-site. As colder environments tend to cause longer drying times, using an appropriate heating solution will help speed up the process. This is especially the case for drying out walls, floors and ceilings.
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5. PLAN AHEAD BY MONITORING WEATHER FORECASTS
Knowledge is key when it comes to staying warm on-site. Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts to get ahead and plan your work accordingly is essential. Knowing when to expect temperature drops, wind chill, or precipitation allow you to schedule tasks strategically, ensuring critical activities are completed in more favourable conditions. Planning also enables you to bring or supply the appropriate gear and adjust your work schedule to minimise exposure during the coldest periods.
In conclusion, staying warm on-site during the colder months is not only about comfort but also about maintaining the productivity and safety of all workers on your team. By following these tips, you can navigate Winter conditions with confidence, allowing you to focus on delivering exceptional results while staying warm and protected. Stay safe, stay warm, and make this Winter a productive one on-site!