cold weather workWith much of the nation in the grip of an arctic blast, many construction sites are shut down. Others, with the aid of new technologies -- like chemical additives that allow concrete to cure in low temperatures – may continue to operate, exposing workers to extreme weather.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is reminding employers and workers that extended exposure to freezing or cold temperatures can result in health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. "Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue, and confused behavior," according to Executive Director Pete Stafford.

From the CPWR:

If you must attack a job in the cold, what can you do to keep your 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.

Visit the CPWR website and download their toolbox talk on Cold Weather safety. It's cold outside, but you can still start the year off safely.