Construction site in winter with spider boom

Tips & Advice

Keeping a Building Site Working in the Winter

Updated November 27th 2023

Winter weather can unfortunately wreak havoc on construction sites if you’re not careful. As building and construction sites are generally hazardous places, health and safety precautions are paramount and even more so in winter.

Keeping Staff Safe and Warm

Ensuring your staff are safe and warm whilst working on site during the winter months is essential. There are various ways you can make sure everything is being done to stay as warm and comfortable as possible. One of the most important things to do in order to keep your staff as warm as possible during winter is to issue them with the appropriate winter workwear and PPE with thermal properties. Make sure to also share important information on keeping warm in the winter; regarding things such as layering, wearing the correct footwear and protecting extremities. For extra warmth, adding additional heating to your workplace can help keep staff comfortable. Fuel heaters require ventilation but are ideal for heating large open spaces.

It is a good idea to ensure workers have regular break times if they are exposed to cold temperatures, and make sure there is adequate accommodation on site for workers to keep warm and dry with facilities to make hot drinks. HSE offers guidance on protecting workers in cold weather.

Be Prepared Early

It is important that you anticipate the colder days well in advance, so before winter hits be sure to stock up on the supplies, you’re going to need throughout the winter months. This includes things to keep your site clear such as grit and water clearing equipment. Supplies such as these may be harder to find during the winter as they become to be in such high demand therefore it is best to be prepared ahead of time.

In the event of a power cut you may need to think about additional power needs such as portable generators or industrial generators to ensure you have sufficient lighting and heating maintained on site.

Perform Thorough Routine Checks

Maintenance checks are necessary throughout the entirety of the year; however, they are particularly important during the winter. Over the winter period, health and safety risks associated with construction are heightened so it essential that thorough checks of thing such as platforms, surfaces, roads and machinery are done to ensure they are suitable for use. A part of these checks during the winter should include checking the weather forecast and planning ahead for hostile conditions, if the conditions are going to be too adverse you may have to make the call to stop work for that time.

Protecting Equipment

Expensive equipment can be at risk of erosion or damage when it is exposed to harsh weather conditions. Electric components especially are at risk of freezing over in sub-zero temperatures, so it is advisable to keep at risk equipment indoors or in storage over the winter, or on particularly cold days and nights. If you don’t have an appropriate indoor space it may be worth investing in storage lockers ahead of the colder months.

Clearing the Site Effectively

It is important that when the ground is icy or snowy that your clear the ice and snow effectively to minimise the risk of accidents. When you’re spreading salt, it is important to spread it evenly and uniformly in order for it to have maximum effect. You will need more salt for snowy conditions that you will for ice.

About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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