Winter Construction Site Hazards
Construction is a dangerous profession, but when cold temperatures and winter arrive, the workplace hazards increase. Serious injuries and fatalities can result from frigid temperatures, icy conditions, and unsafe work sites. With proper safety equipment and attention to safety procedures, these hazards and the risk of serious injury can be reduced.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
It is imperative to remove snow from walkways, parking lots, and work surfaces at construction sites to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Application of salt, kitty litter, or dirt on these areas will help prevent many accidents. Metal surfaces ice up quickly, so construction workers need to limit their access to elevated beams and scaffolding in freezing temperatures. Tethers and other safety equipment should be inspected and used as added protection. Special attention should be given to icy areas that melt during full sunlight and refreeze in the late afternoon before the work day has ended.
Exposure to freezing and cold temperatures can have serious consequences and even cause fatality.
- Hypothermia: Uncontrollable shivering, confusion, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and slowed heart rate or breathing are all signs of hypothermia. Remove wet clothing and wrap the victim in layers of warm blankets, tarps, or garbage bags. Hot water bottles can be placed under the arms or on the sides of the chest or groin area to raise body temperature. If the victim is conscious and able to swallow, give them warm liquids and call for emergency medical assistance.
- Frostbite: Skin and underlying tissue that is exposed to very cold temperatures can freeze and cause serious consequences. Gray or white patches on the fingers, toes, nose, or ear lobes are typically the first signs of frostbite. The skin can harden and cause tingling, soreness, or loss of feeling altogether. Blisters may also form. Apply warm compresses or layers of gloves or blankets to the area and seek immediate medical attention.
Winter Driving Accidents
Ice and snow on the road make driving conditions treacherous. Construction sites typically have unpaved and muddy roads that become even more dangerous in these conditions. Construction workers need to be vigilant when driving and operating heavy equipment or construction vehicles.
Employers need to ensure that all motor vehicle and equipment operators are properly trained to drive in winter conditions. Road barriers, cones, barrels, and signs should be prevalent to help drivers avoid potential high-risk areas. Equipment and vehicles need to be inspected regularly and repairs made to any malfunctioning or broken equipment.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas powered engines, tools, heaters, generators, pressure washers, and snow blowers produce carbon monoxide gas that can be fatal. Victims of carbon monoxide poisoning will develop headaches, chest tightness, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. As the toxins build up in the bloodstream, victims will lose consciousness, fall into a coma, and suffer fatal injuries. Anyone that exhibits these signs should be removed from the area immediately and given fresh oxygen until emergency medical help arrives.
New Brunswick Construction Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Construction Safety
If you have been injured at a construction accident, call the New Brunswick construction accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 732-537-8570 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.