Time for some winter weatherproofing< Back to Blog

As we head into what are likely to be the coldest months of the year, it’s time for the construction industry to brace itself against the full impact of winter.

We know that rain, snow, ice and wind are not the most pleasant conditions to be working in, but here at Sheriff Construction, we like to concentrate not on the harshness of the weather itself, but on the practical solutions that make working in such conditions possible.

With that in mind, here’s three strategies for weatherproofing the construction site and keeping every site worker safe and healthy.

1. Prioritise safety

The old boy scout motto ‘be prepared’ couldn’t be more appropriate here.

The only way to fully protect your site and the people working there is to keep up to date with what’s going on weather-wise, plan ahead and take appropriate action.

Make it a daily habit to watch the weather forecast so you can plan how your site operates in advance of any difficult conditions,eliminating dangers or even closing the site when necessary.

The actions you take will depend greatly on what stage of construction you’re working within and what exactly the weather brings.

One example might be temporarily reducing the speed limits for construction vehicles when icy conditions are predicted.

2. Promote good health and wellbeing

Bitter conditions do not have to result in coughs,colds or other winter-induced symptoms. Avoiding ill-health starts with what you wear. While everyone should routinely be protecting their head, hands and feet with essential PPE, in the winter months, it’s advisable to go beyond the basics. Layer up with some thermals, thick socks and warm gloves. Check the wear and tear of your boots and invest in a new pair where necessary. Wear an extra layer like a hard hat liner or face warmer to prevent heat loss.

In addition to what you wear, it will be important over the next few weeks to adjust working practices and timescales in relation to external conditions.

If it’s really cold, taking more short-breaks (preferably in a sheltered area with access to hot drinks and food supplies) will help workers’keep warm, stay physically strong and remain in high spirits.

3. Provide storage

When the temperature drops, it’s not only people who need weatherproofing.

Vital (and often expensive) construction equipment as well as workers’ personal belongings can also be affected by harsh weather, reducing their lifetime value and sometimes damaging items beyond repair.

So, when weatherproofing your site, make sure there are secure places for equipment and property to be stored when not in use.

Preparing your site for the coldest months is partly about following all the normal health and safety advice everyone in the construction industry knows (or should know) like the back of their hand, but it’s also about being in a state of readiness and taking initiative.

While weather forecasting has become more accurate than it used to be, there’s always an element of unpredictability. So, if things change and perhaps conditions become harsher than expected, be ready to adapt your working programme and safeguard your site however it’s needed.

Hang tough – sunnier times will return (eventually)!

If you’ve got any winter weatherproofing tips, share them with us now (#weatherproofing).

09.01.2018