It goes without saying that construction sites present many injury risks, but workers often accept those risks in the presence of a comprehensive workers’ compensation policy. What some workers and benefits packages might overlook, however, are the unique threats that exist on construction sites during winter months.
Contractors can protect themselves by staying aware of common injuries that can occur during the coldest months of the year. By taking necessary precautions against these injuries and confirming that the company or site owner will accept liability if they occur, construction workers can take steps to safeguard their livelihoods.
Ice, snow, and slush introduce new slip-and-fall hazards to construction sites where a risk of falling is already a real possibility. Workers should be particularly careful of icy surfaces when working at higher elevations or on rooftops.
Cold Weather Stress Injuries
OSHA describes cold stress injuries as those resulting from conditions that drive down skin temperature and internal body temperature, leading to permanent tissue damage. These include frostbite, trench foot and hypothermia.
Driving on and around construction sites can be perilous at the best of times due to debris and other hazards. Winter road conditions further increase the chances of an accident when operating standard vehicles as well as larger, heavier construction vehicles.
Construction workers commonly expose themselves to the risk of sudden catastrophic injuries as well as repetitive stress injuries that slowly build up over time. Careful contractors prepare for these risks, but even the most experienced of workers can succumb to the unexpected hazards that winter weather presents.