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Construction Health and Safety in Varying Weather

Construction and building sites are always affected by the weather. Health and Safety regulations must always be adhered to, whatever the temperature and weather conditions outside. Problems can occur with machinery, chemicals and the workers themselves. Here is some information to help you ensure your construction site is prepared for the different seasons.

Temperature
During the warm weather, workers can suffer from dehydration, sunstroke and exhaustion. In times when the weather is cold, the risk of slip hazards and poor visibility is greatly increased.

In extreme temperatures, machinery may not work correctly or can break down completely. This costs time and money but also can be very dangerous.

Storms
Construction sites can be greatly affected by lightening from a storm, throughout the year. Especially for the metal objects such as cranes or scaffolding that is high up. They are conductors of electricity and could cause fires or electrocution.

Heavy rain can cause a massive problem for the workers. Other than being uncomfortable to work in, this weather can reduce visibility and turn the ground muddy that creates a slip hazard.

What is required?
Contractors have full responsibility of ensuring their staff is safe and that their welfare comes first. Depending on the size, location and type of construction project, facilities can include

• Toilets
• Drinking water
• Washing facilities
• Changing rooms
• Facilities for rest

Anyone who works on a construction site must have access to toilets, somewhere to rest and somewhere to store the clothing as well as drinking water. These facilities do not have to be located on site but must be within walking distance for the workers.

Having these facilities during the summer weather can ensure staff do not get dehydrated. Workers should be encouraged to take short breaks regularly and drink lots of water.

Workers can become delirious when in hot temperatures. This affects reaction times and judgement, casing a serious danger if they are operating heavy machine, or working from heights.

Staff need to remember to not remove their safety hats, regardless of how hot they get. These are a requirement by law for construction workers safety.
In the winter months, rest facilities need to be warm for workers to retreat to warm up in their breaks.

Weather cannot be controlled, but accidents and problems in the work place can. Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and preparing accordingly can help reduce any accidents that may arise.

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