As winter is approaching, safe driving is critical now more than ever. Conditions on the road become dangerous and it’s very important to take extra caution. This is a good time to review workers safety tips for driving and operating construction vehicles and equipment when faced with tough weather conditions like snow, ice, high winds, and cold temperatures. 

Poor Visibility 

Poor visibility on the roads and construction sights makes working and driving much more challenging and dangerous. It is important that workers take precautions and are making smart decisions on the road when snow is coming down hard and the road is covered in ice and slush. Workers should be sure to reduce their speed in these conditions. It’s very easy to slide off the road or into another vehicle if you’re going too fast. 

In addition, blind spots can become much worse due to frost, ice, and condensation. Make sure that before you drive your vehicle you brush off all of the snow and ice on the windshield to the best of your ability. Taking the time to do a good job at this is very important. Leaving snow and ice on your vehicle will make it even harder for you to see and can cause an accident. Workers should also wait until all windows are fully defrosted before driving and ensure windows, mirrors, and lights on heavy equipment, trucks, and work vehicles are kept clean and clear. 

The construction work site should also have safety procedures in place for the snow. Workers should make sure to regularly check the weather and be prepared before a heavy snowfall. This way, you can clean up the worksite ahead of time to ensure that hazards don’t get buried by the snow. Or, if the snow comes down during work, workers should find and mark any hazards that are located by a driving or walking path of a job site.

Tips for Driving Trucks / Construction Vehicles in Winter

  1. Be aware of hard packed snow as it can be as slippery as ice
  2. In areas that have more heavy equipment traffic, mud and snow can create ruts that can affect driving 
  3. Reduce your speed when approaching a bridge or overpass. These parts of the road freeze sooner than others 
  4. Report your concerns of bad weather, vehicle or road conditions, or any job site dangers to your supervisor so that all workers are made aware of the hazards

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Marking hazards on a job site is also important to help reduce slips, trips, and falls. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips, and falls account for 15% of accidental deaths per year, the second-leading cause behind motor vehicles. These accidents increase even more during the winter months due to ice and slippery surfaces. 

Anyone who resides in a region that goes through cold winters is probably familiar with black ice. Black ice is super sneaky and difficult to detect due to the fact that it’s a very thin coating that blends in on roads and surfaces. Unfortunately, many fall victim to black ice and suffer some severe injuries. This is why it’s so important that workers are aware when they’re walking around a construction site and are careful when climbing into and out of any vehicle. If black ice is found on the site, suspending use of this area will help control work injuries. 

Dress Appropriately  

It’s very important that workers are wearing multiple layers of clothing to stay warm when working outside in the cold temperatures. Hats, gloves, socks, and warm jackets should be worn at all times. 

The metal of construction equipment will be extremely cold for the bare hand to touch. Hands are extremely vulnerable to frostbite when working in the cold, so protecting your hands by wearing proper gloves is very necessary. Not just any gloves will do – construction workers gloves should be built to work in freezing temperatures and need to be waterproof with thermal lining. 

Proper work boots are also necessary in winter to one keep your feet insulated and two reduce slips, trips, and falls. Buying work boots with a good grip on the bottom will help tremendously with this. Boots should also be waterproof, since another common cause of frost bite is wet feet. Doubling up on socks is also recommended. Additionally, wearing bright high-visibility safety gear will provide workers with optimal safety. 

Cold weather means that workers need to take extra steps to stay safe this winter. Following these tips will help reduce injuries and accidents when working on an outdoor construction site or driving vehicles on slippery roads. 

Article adapted from : 

https://weeklysafety.com/blog/winter-driving-on-site