Property Owners and Contractors Should Winterize Their Construction Sites
Winter weather always brings added risks of injury due to snow and ice. Pedestrians can slip and fall on snow and ice. Vehicles can slide on slick road surfaces. So too does winter’s cold weather bring additional risks to construction sites and those who work there or pass by. Winter weather can increase the risk of falls at construction sites and of malfunctions of heavy machinery, such as cranes and hoists, causing injury and even death.
The New York City Buildings Department has suggested 10 tips for property owners and contractors on how to “winterize” their construction sites:
Fire safety precautions:Replace wooden access ladders to forming and stripping floors with non-combustible ladders and store materials away from flames. All temporary heating equipment must comply with the New York City Fire Code.
Safeguarding pipes:Never thaw frozen pipes with a flame, which can cause fires and steam explosions. Carefully thaw frozen areas with a heat gun, heat lamp or space heater.
Safeguarding a water tank:Make sure to have your roof water tank inspected to ensure it is protected from freezing.
Debris removal:Remove loose and discarded debris after each work day to ensure materials do not fall or shift to the street level. Remove ice and snow.
Secure equipment:Secure all construction materials, netting, ladders, chutes and accessories that could shift during inclement weather. Store smaller items in a tool box or container for future use.
Secure temporary structures:Secure all scaffolding and sidewalk sheds, which are temporary structures that provide overhead protection for pedestrians during construction operations. Secure fencing as well.
No work in icy conditions:Avoid all work on scaffolds covered in snow, ice or slippery materials, except to remedy to hazardous condition.
No work in stormy conditions:Avoid all work on or from a scaffold during storms and high winds unless construction workers are protected by a fall-protection system.
Hoist safety:Avoid using personnel hoists in heavy rain, freezing conditions or winds reaching up to 35 miles per hour. Hoists that have been exposed to winds stronger than 35 miles per hour must be inspected before use.
Crane safety:Cranes must be properly stored, inspected and maintained at all times – including positioning for inclement weather. Use extra precaution in areas where water and ice may accumulate on the crane, creating a fall hazard or falling ice hazard.