New risks have arisen on construction sites as we hit the peak of winter. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, this year has been recorded the coldest start to the season since 1982 with the coldest morning of the year reported at the start of June dropping below freezing level of -3.5 degrees Celsius in the Yarra Valley.
If exposed to the cold, these icy mornings and freezing wind chills can dramatically lower employee body temperatures which can cause frost bite, hypothermia or trench foot. Some factors that can cause these illnesses are due to the cold air temperature, high velocity of air movement, dampness in the air and contact with cold water or surfaces. These factors force the body to work harder in order to maintain its temperature. JV Employees are to immediately seek assistance and tell their supervisor if symptoms occur such as serious numbness, muscular weakness and cramps, uncontrolled shivering or loss of fine motor skills.
Furthermore, hazards on construction sites increase immensely in cold, icy or wet conditions. The risk of slips, trips and falls is amplified so it is vital that steel capped work boots have deep treads for good traction and grip. Incidents and injuries can be avoided if the appropriate clothing and the correct PPE is worn. It is advisable in cold weather to wear at least 3 layers of clothing including thermal and waterproof layers to minimise cold exposure. Water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air so staying dry is also imperative. Always wear long sleeves and take a change of clothes on days of bad weather.
Finally, remember to “think before you act” when working in cold, wet and windy conditions. All injuries are avoidable. Don’t hesitate to take 20 seconds before starting a job to assess the hazards and risks that may occur in order to complete a task. Don’t take shortcuts on safety.
Written by Christine Wood
JV Recruitment’s aim is to provide a people-orientated approach to recruitment in the areas of Construction, Logistics, Manufacturing, and Business Support for permanent, contract or labour hire staffing solutions. For more information, or to apply for a job, visit our home page.