f you live in a city that experiences cold weather, then you should know a thing about working in less than ideal conditions. Many construction companies will close for a few weeks in the winter around the holidays. Others will schedule yard inventory to keep busy but not on job sites. The truth is that while work may slow down there are little adjustments that employers and employees can do to maintain comfort and a good work pace.
Construction employees need appropriate jackets, boots, fleece hats, gloves, and potentially even thermal underwear depending on the temperature and the work site (i.e. highway construction versus building construction). The main thing to know is that while staying warm is of vital importance, over insulating can also cause a few problems. If a worker is too insulated it will lead to them feeling bulky and restricted. Wearing a lot of layers will increase clothing weight and also restrict mobility. A worker carrying around 50 lbs of equipment could do without another 25lbs in clothing. Also, if the worker is too insulated, it can lead to sweating. Sweating should mean that they are warm but could freeze and actually cool an employee. Make sure that as an employer, you monitor what the employees are wearing and potentially even institute a winter dress code. If employees are under dressing, then they might also be prone to getting sick, leaving you short handed on the job site.
Wear quilted winter liners in your hard hats to provide warmth while staying safe and protected, and on super cold days you can wear a knitted full face liner to provide maximum protection against the winter weather. You should make sure that you have a place to get to out of the cold to eat lunches and take breaks. Another thing to make sure of is that even if you do not feel cold stay covered from the elements. One of the biggest problems of winter is the combination of wind and lower temperatures, which can leave you at a greater risk of wind burn and other illnesses. A common example of this is chapped lips. A more serious version of exposed skin would be frostbite.
Winter time is often a slowdown time in the construction business. It takes longer to get equipment to start and usually hours are down amongst workers. If you are in a state that switches over due to daylight saving time, then the workable hours often shrink due to darkness. The best advice is to be prepared and expect the unexpected. Whereas summer forecasts are pretty simple, winter weather is often unpredictable. Usually snow and temperature forecasts will not be set up until a day before the actual weather event. As a worker in the construction industry, the best thing you can do is be prepared. Keep food, water, and extra clothing in your truck in case you get stuck on the job site. Have equipment that will enable you to make contact with other people in the event that you get stuck. Cell phones or CB radios often help in emergency situations.
Cold weather is a reality for most and in the day to day work environment, it's best to remain comfortable and productive by wearing appropriate cold weather attire and making sure you have a plan in case severe weather arrives unexpectedly.