From sudden changes in temperature to diminished daylight hours and more, fall presents its own set of safety challenges for contractors and workers.
While construction tends to slow in the autumn and worksite hazards aren’t as plentiful as they are during the summer or winter, dangers still lurk. Here’s a look at some of them and what you can do to protect your team and equipment:
The Sun is Still an Issue: Days may be cooler and the heat may not be wearing you down anymore, but the sun is still shining. One problem, though. No natural shade. Throughout most of North America, autumn means falling leaves. No leaves on trees mean less shade for your construction crew. Contractors should make sure there’s a place where their team can seek shade and protect themselves from the sun. Contractors should also continue providing sunscreen for their workers and remind them to cover exposed skin with gloves, neck gaiters, and hard hats.
Cold, Hot or Just Right: Wild swings of temperatures are common in the fall. If you’re working outside on a jobsite, teams need to be prepared for potential flurries one day and temperatures in the high 80s the next. In some locations throughout the United States and Canada, 30-degree temperature swings can happen in a matter of hours. Be ready by dressing in layers to be able to accommodate the fluctuations in conditions.
Shelter from the Storm: Renting a storage container or an enclosed construction tent is a good way to stay protected from rain, sleet, or snow. If there are thunderstorms in the area, workers should seek refuge indoors. Containers and tents can also be used after hours to protect tools, supplies, and equipment from the elements and theft.
Just a Little Light: Daylight Saving Time ends the first week of November each year. Contractors may want to adjust schedules to take full advantage of the daylight hours and be sure to have enough portable lighting on-site if work continues past dusk.
Watch Your Step: A pile of wet leaves can be as slippery as stepping on a banana. Having a sweeper, blower, wood-chipper, and other landscaping and lawncare equipment handy can keep your jobsite clear of leaves, other debris, and prevent a trip or fall.
Start Preparing for the Worst Weather: If your project will extend into the winter months, autumn is the time to begin preparing winter emergency kits for your drivers and machine operators. Kits should include water, blankets, a flashlight, a snow brush/ice scraper, as well as an assortment of nutritious snacks such as protein bars, nuts, granola, and dried fruit.
To learn more about worksite safety, click here.