Construction in New York never stops. Even during the worst possible weather, work will continue on new structures and renovations alike. The brave people who work in construction can often take jobs year-round.
Construction workers face dangers in any season, but winter weather can make their job even more risky than usual. If you or someone you love works construction during the winter, it’s important to understand the risks of the job and ways to minimize them. A little preparation can go a long way toward reducing the risk of a serious construction injury.
The cold is a danger in and of itself
There’s no question that snow, ice and freezing winds all create risk that can be problematic on construction sites. However, the cold itself is a source of ongoing danger. Individuals can experience a drop in core temperature after being out in the cold for many hours. The cold weather can impact everything from manual dexterity to cognitive function.
It is important for workers to protect themselves by dressing in layers and protective clothing. Employers should also have warming stations or other sources of shelter and heat available during breaks, particularly longer meal breaks. Know your own limits, and ask for a break or a moment to warm up if you start to notice symptoms of frostbite or other issues.
Frozen precipitation can increase your risk of a fall
Working safely at great heights is difficult in the best of circumstances. When there’s snow, sleet or freezing rain falling, the danger is even more pronounced. Workers who are usually very steady could experience a slip because of a loss of traction. They may also struggle to work with their safety equipment when wearing winter gear.
As if snow and ice weren’t bad enough, there are also blustery, cold winds that can push individuals while they stand on slippery surfaces.
Bad weather can cause sensory issues
When it’s snowing and blowing, you have to deal with the bad weather as well as the job at hand. Snow whipping in your face and howling winds can make it more difficult for workers to notice signs of danger prior to an accident.
Snow can reduce visibility, making it hard for people to know what’s going on even a few feet in front of them. The high-pitched, whipping whine of the winter wind may make it difficult for workers to hear the beeping of machinery or calls from their co-workers.
Staying safe on the job site takes extra diligence and effort during the winter months. Unfortunately, no matter how careful they are, some construction workers still get hurt on the job in New York every winter. If you or someone you love has gotten hurt on the job, it may be time to look into your rights for workers’ compensation coverage.