It is that time of year … winter has passed, and spring has finally sprung! In some regions, springtime means steady rain and other regions see snow melt, high winds and heat. Spring weather is unpredictable and to say the very least, bringing with it equally unpredictable safety hazards. Some of the most preventable construction hazards include slipping on wet surfaces, maneuvering equipment in changing conditions, and staying healthy in fluctuating temperatures. Slips and fall hazards quickly become a concern when the rising temperatures turn frozen dirt into mud.
- Be mindful of wet conditions when using ladders or working on roofs or scaffolding
- Evaluate and adjust for conditions
- Be sure that ladders are placed on level spaces and secure
- Ensure that you can see
- Maintain clear and clean safety goggles
- Even a few drops of moisture can on safety glasses can cause an incident
- Wipe mud from boots and gloves
- Be sure to remove any mud from your boots prior to ascending onto or off equipment or construction site surfaces
- It is also good to wipe mud off of your gloves as well to make certain you can get a good proper grip on equipment and/or tools
- Move more cautiously
- Recognize transitioning to different types of walking surfaces and adjust
- Understanding the limitations of the equipment and tools that you are using in changing conditions is important so that you are not forcing them to operate against their intended purpose
- Thawing ground conditions can cause ruts
- Go slow and straddle the rut when possible
- Spring rain can make slopes more difficult to maneuver
- Never drive into excessively muddy areas or down slick slopes
- Traction and control are greatly reduced when operating in mud
- Use the correct equipment
- Do not use electrical tools and equipment that are not specifically rated for outdoor use when working in the rain
- When using hand tools, use tools with textured, nonslip grip handles.
The outside temperatures during spring can also present safety hazards. You may walk out your door one morning in a heavy winter coat and return home wearing a t-shirt. Dramatic changes in weather, as well as lower air quality, can expose you to more airborne contaminants that increase your risk of catching a spring cold.
- Dress in layers that can be removed as the day heats up
- Drinking plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
- Wash hands, tools, equipment and surfaces more frequently on jobsite
If you are experiencing any cold/flu like symptom, please remember to stay home. While these safeguards seem like common sense, many injuries and property damage incidents occur every year due to poor site conditions. Use your best judgement when working in changing conditions and/or muddy conditions. Always adjust work plans to site conditions.