Tips & Advice When Working in Cold Environments
Keeping Productivity High, When Temperatures are Low
Whether you’re a contractor, construction company, end client or any other party involved in a construction project, you often have two top priorities. You want your project to remain on schedule and you want to complete the project on, or even better, under budget.
Being Prepared for Winter
During the first few months of the year, the weather can often make it difficult for projects to be completed on time. If proper precautions aren’t taken into account, cold temperatures can adversely affect timelines. When construction materials are not at the appropriate temperature, their integrity can be compromised.
Affects of Cold Weather
Jobs such as concrete pours and fireproofing require adequate heat in lower temperatures. Another factor to consider throughout winter is how the environment can affect your staff. It is important for employers to know the wind chill temperature so that they can gauge workers’ exposure risk better and plan how to do the work safely. Environmental cold can affect any worker exposed to cold air temperatures and puts workers at risk of cold stress.
Hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot and chilblain are all examples of illnesses that can be caused by extremely cold or wet weather whenever temperatures drop. To avoid incidents and the decrease of productivity, heaters are a necessity during winter months. Working in freezing temperatures can be done safely and efficiently with heaters designed for indoor and outdoor use.
Our Rapid Climate Control division offers a wide range of heating solutions, available to hire or purchase. The range includes;
- Portable electric heaters
- Indirect fired heaters
- Self-contained industrial heaters
- Fixed heaters and much more.
As well as recommending the most suitable heating solution for the job in hand, Rapid Climate Control can help projects run more smoothly by arranging fixed costs or seasonal rates, assisting with job specifications, ensuring that heaters are safely set-up and supporting customers with executing projects on time and on budget.
Advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
The HSE advises that for indoor workplaces, employers should provide:
• A reasonable working temperature in workrooms - usually at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work (unless other laws require lower temperatures)
• Local heating or cooling (i.e. making best use of fans, opening windows, using radiators) where a comfortable temperature cannot be maintained throughout each workroom
• Thermal clothing and rest facilities where necessary
• Heating systems which do not give off dangerous or offensive levels of fume into the workplace
• Sufficient space in workrooms
You can help ensure thermal comfort when working in the cold by:
• Providing adequate workplace heating, e.g. portable heaters
• Reducing cold exposure by designing processes that minimise exposure to cold areas and cold products where possible
• Reducing draughts
• Providing insulating floor coverings or special footwear when employees have to stand for long periods on cold floors
• Providing appropriate protective clothing for cold environments
• Introducing formal systems of work to limit exposure, e.g. flexible working patterns, job rotation
• Providing sufficient breaks to enable employees to get hot drinks or to warm up in heated areas