Plummeting temperatures for construction workers
Most of us woke up to frozen windscreens and frosty breath this morning. In fact, 90% of the UK is set to expect snow with the plummeting temperatures. Let’s hope they don’t break the current record in Britain at -27°C.
During the cold weather, whilst most of us traverse from our warm beds to our warm cars, to our warm offices as swiftly as possible – let’s spare a shiver-inducing thought for those working outdoors. This winter, construction workers will be battling freezing winds, slushy rain, and black ice. It’s not surprising that the cold can have a serious impact on our health.
Accident Line Direct have taken a look at construction site dangers. We want to provide those working outdoors with the knowledge to help protect themselves this winter.
The law for outdoor workers
The required minimum temperature for working indoors is 16°C, as set out by The Workplace Regulations 1992. However, there is no lawful minimum temperature for working outdoors, as the law does not apply to places that “would be impractical to maintain those temperatures.”
But with the exception of temperature, employers still have a duty of care to their employees, keeping them safe in the workplace.
How the cold can affect those in construction.
Cold stress – when heat leaves the body at a faster than normal rate, our internal body temperature plummets too quickly. With the loss of core heat, the body is unable to warm exposed skin and extremities, potentially causing serious skin damage. If workers aren’t properly sheltered from the elements then frostbite and hypothermia can set in.
Falls – the most common accident for construction sites. During the winter, ice increases the risk for falls due to slippery surfaces. Sites at height that could become covered in ice should be treated with caution.
Driving – Construction vehicles can be considerably larger and more difficult to maneuverer than cars. Driving, or being near a construction vehicle when conditions are poor could increase your chances of an accident.
How to prevent accidents
- Properly grit work areas
- Employers provide training on the symptoms of cold stress
- Avoid working alone – use the buddy system
- Take frequent breaks in a warm area.
- Drink something warm and sweet, not alcohol!
- Train employees to dress properly for more extreme weather conditions.
- Try to be productive during the warmest part of the day
- Provide heaters.
Accident Line Direct
Many people have accidents at work, but you could have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault. If you were owed a duty of care by your employer but you were injured in the workplace then you may be able to claim for compensation.
Call Accident Line Direct today to speak to a specialist. We can discuss your accident and advise you on your rights and the next steps in making a claim.