Our Western regions have been blanketed in snow for weeks -- and after a mild December in much of the East, winter weather is finally moving in.

Are you ready?

While much construction will wind down for the coldest months, new technologies - such as chemical additives that allow concrete to cure in low temperatures - allow work to go forward on some jobs even during a deep freeze. That means a lot of workers will face extreme weather in January and February.

Extended exposure to freezing or cold temperatures can lead to trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia.

Danger signs for hypothermia include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue, and confused behavior.

If you must tackle an outdoor job in cold weather, what can you do to keep workers safe?

  • Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions. Layer clothing to adjust to changing temperatures.
  • Use the buddy system; work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs.
  • Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas or hot chocolate) and alcohol.

To get the whole story, visit CPWR online and download the toolbox talk on Cold Weather Safety.

Source: The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) www/cpwr.com