The HSE Approved Code of practice sets out the importance for businesses to ensure that they minimise the risks that can occur as a result of frost, ice and snow. Slips and falls are amongst some of the most common accidents that you will find in the workplace, and when you add in the additional dangers caused by icy conditions this can become even more of a risk. With this in mind, is it important to ensure that you stay in line with legislation. But also that you are safeguarding the wellbeing and therefore the productivity of the team on your construction site.
As the temperatures start to drop and the weather becomes colder. It is time to put the appropriate measures in place so that when it does become frosty and icy you are ready to protect your construction site.
Protect your employees
Whilst it is really important to ensure that your site is frost and ice-free it is also important to consider the well-being of your construction staff during the colder weather. Even the best measures to keep your site protected from ice and frost will only go so far. You need to provide a place where your employees can go during their breaks, get warm and have some food and a hot drink. Welfare units like those from SRP Hire Solutions are an important addition to a construction site at any time of the year but can make all the difference during the colder months.
In addition to offering a space to shelter in, you can also hire welfare units that have a storage area where you can put some of the necessary equipment for keeping your site frost. And ice-free and even a drying area where wet clothing can be dried overnight.
Removing and preventing ice
Whilst frost in the morning can be something of a nuisance, it is the surface water that freezes overnight, creating black ice that can be dangerous on your construction site. The thicker the ice the longer it takes to melt and the greater the chances of slips and falls occurring.
It is very important to ensure that all of the walkways on your site are kept as dry as possible to reduce the possibility of ice forming. Keep a good supply of salt or grit on site. And use it on these walkways to prevent ice from forming. It will be much easier to deal with ice if you do not allow it to form in the first instance.
If snow falls on your construction site, then you need to ensure that you clear as much of it as possible from walkways, scaffolding and any general areas. If the temperatures are very low, any snow that does melt is likely to freeze overnight. This will form icy patches that will be dangerous underfoot or at heights. The snow itself can also obscure obstacles that could result in hidden trip hazards that are also a cause of accidents. Melting snow that is higher up, for example on roofs, can also melt and shift. Falling to the ground and potentially injuring anyone underneath it.
The best tool you have for protecting your construction site against ice and frost is to plan. Make sure that you have a good stock of salt and grit on site. And the relevant tools to use for spreading them. It may be that different members of the team will be responsible for this task. If this is the case, have a rota and ensure it is visible and everyone knows where the salt is stored. Check the weather regularly. Temperatures can dip suddenly so you need to be prepared. This will allow you to deal with ice and frost before it becomes too much of an issue.