Cold weather is coming, and demolition companies in Portland need to be ready to face the hazards that winter brings. Freezing conditions require special preparations and adaptations to anticipate potentially costly and dangerous stoppages at work. OSHA does not have specific winter regulations, but its demolition safety tips should be carefully adhered to, especially during the winter.
Safe Winter Demolition Tips for Oregon Contractors
Today’s blog shares the top five tips for ensuring a safe industrial demolition site that every Portland demolition contractor needs to know to prevent unnecessary injuries and accidents on the job site.
- Plan for adverse weather
The best thing to do is to plan ahead. Adverse weather — which is any weather pattern that is harsh enough to delay work — can have a disastrous impact on your workflow. Anything from low temperatures, sudden shifts in wind, rain or cloud cover, and secondary weather effects like mud, ice, and mold, can prevent the job from being completed. This is why it is important for demolition contractors to keep abreast of the latest weather reports to be prepared for impending changes in weather.
Rapid changes in weather can have a dramatic impact on your workers, not to mention any machinery or tools being used. Sudden drops in temperature can increase the chances of cold stress. Cold stress is a condition that occurs when the body’s temperature falls.
Watch for common risk factors such as wetness or dampness (even from sweating), improper clothing, exhaustion, and poor physical condition. Be aware of your own and your fellow worker’s physical state of being while on the worksite. It could save a life.
- Ensure your worksite is safe
Keeping the worksite safe is very important for any Portland industrial demolition company. Here are some helpful tips about what to look for when preparing your worksite for winter.
- Use absorbent mats or canopies at building entrances or heavily trafficked areas to minimize slipping. These areas are where rainwater and ice tend to pool.
- Encourage workers to stick to premade paths so as to not exacerbate the slickness of the entryways.
- Use salt to prevent freezing when the temperature is set to drop below freezing. Salt is a natural antifreeze and it is frequently used on roads to keep them ice-free. You can apply the same principle to your worksite. Keep in mind that you must maintain the salt in order for it to be effective.
- Make sure that all lighting in the worksite is functional. Consult with workers to make sure they are getting the light they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. The transition into winter is a perfect time to initiate an inspection of all the lighting equipment to ensure that it is all in working order.
- Perform winter checks and inspections
It is important to maintain and inspect any equipment that is being used or stored during the winter months. For example, winter conditions may bring high winds, so safety harnesses, netting, and scaffolding should be checked and inspected for winter use. Keep a close eye on water supply pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting during winter months.
You can also ensure that each worker knows the basic symptoms and emergency steps to take for common wintertime maladies, such as frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot. These can be hazards in any outdoor activity, industrial demolition included.
While Portland rarely sees bitterly cold temperatures, workers should still be trained on how to recognize the symptoms of these cold-weather maladies. These conditions often don’t need freezing temperatures to cause harm, and a little knowledge and the right training can prevent greater harm or damage from occurring.
- Remove snow and ice
Snow and ice can build up regularly, especially throughout Oregon. Keep major walkways, ladders, scaffolding and even boots free of ice. Try to keep workers on ground level during the winter to prevent hazardous falls. If the job necessitates that work is done at higher levels, be sure that all snow and ice has been removed from the ladder and from the worker’s boots before commencing work.
Be sure that those workers at the demolition company site who are shoveling snow are well dressed and monitored for signs of hypothermia. Workers that are at risk for heart attacks should also refrain from shoveling snow as it can increase the risk of a heart attack due to strenuous activity.
After the snow has been removed, check the area for remaining slippery surfaces and use grit to help create traction. Be careful with de-icers and they have important environmental requirements that must be met in order for them to be used.
- Wear weather-appropriate clothing
Finally, be sure that you and your workers are wearing weather-appropriate clothing. While personal protection equipment during the winter can be bulky and limit mobility, you must balance the protection against the cold with the hazards of the job at hand. Choose the right equipment for the job to ensure that the workers are kept warm and able to do their job effectively.
Waterproofing is a must for Portland demolition companies, as are insulated boots to keep feet warm and dry. Insulated shoewear and clothing minimize the amount of moisture that gets in and has layers to keep your feet and hands warm, but also has breathable to wick away perspiration. Make sure that all footwear has the right traction to prevent slipping in icy conditions.
Elder Demolition is Oregon’s Industrial Demolition Contractor Of Choice
If you’re looking for a reputable and trustworthy demolition company in Oregon, contact us today. We serve many states in the Pacific Northwest as well as Montana, Nevada, and more. Elder Demolition is committed to providing high quality, safe industrial demolition services.
A large part of our work depends on consistent, inclusive coverage that brings peace of mind to the company, client, and the general public. Contact us to learn more.