Brace for Winter…

As the UK awakes to a blanket of snow, some timely advice on staying safe this winter.

Swathes of the UK awoke this morning to a blanket of snow. And while British snow flurries would be taken in the stride of our Scandinavian and North American counterparts, the official arrival of winter brings with it a very specific set of potential hazards.

To help you combat the cold and stay safe this winter, occupational health professional and founder of Building Health Nichola Elvy has prapared her top tips for staying safe and healthy this winter:

Serious risks:
• Hypothermia
• Trench foot, from having cold and wet feet
• Frostbite

Proper clothing and suitable PPE will reduce the risk of workers suffering these conditions. However special consideration should be given to staff with pre-existing medical conditions that are exacerbated by cold weather, such as asthma and hand arm vibration syndrome.

Less serious risks:
• Dry skin
• Chapped lips
• Sunburn when there are clear skies despite the cold
• Ultra-violet damage to eyes from sun exposure

Workers such as security and traffic marshals can be the worst affected because they aren’t able to keep warm by moving.

Tips to keep warm on site:
• A healthy breakfast, such as porridge, when you wake up will make your body work to keep you warm.
• Hot drinks and meals during the day will keep you warm.
• A fried breakfast mid-morning will not kick-start your body’s metabolism.

It is even worth giving staff free instant porridge when they arrived at site or at the yard to help them cope with the cold.
Final tip:

Don’t let your toilets and hand-washing facilities freeze over – because this could stop work.

The subject of winter working safety is also addresed in the latest episode of Demolition News Radio. You can listen to this episode below: