Safety on Site in Extreme Weather

Jan 30, 2019

Warmer times on site at Akron Children's Hospital Health Center.

Akron, Ohio

Northeast Ohio is expecting brutally low temperatures this week as a polar vortex passes over the Great Lakes region.  Local weather experts say wind chill temperatures will near -45 degrees F.  Extreme weather is one of the many construction industry obstacles that calls for revisiting safety on the job site.

Safety over Schedule. 
“Summit Construction values the lives of each individual that enters a construction site over any construction schedule. A construction schedule lost can be manipulated and put back on track, an individual’s life lost cannot.” –Nathan Booth, Safety Manager.  Our bodies are not equipped to face extreme weather elements for long periods of time, cold or hot.  In the event of an extreme weather advisory, it is important to monitor temperatures on the job site, as well as breaks being taken, proper attire being worn and even diet (like encouraging water over caffeine).

Job sites are most safe when communication is most clear. 
“Conversation daily with more than just those that lead the trades is crucial. Safety concerns are more apparent to the individuals doing the work versus the ones leading the way.” says Mr. Booth.
Communication between tradesman and management sets the tone for the safety quality of the site.  If weather reaches a point where exposure for even short periods of time can inflict danger, proper actions should be taken by project managers to ensure 100% safety. 

Leading by example. 
“The most effective method to improving the safety culture on a job site is to lead by example.  If Summit Construction does not implement or enforce safe practices on a job site, then how can we expect our subcontractors to do so?”–Mike Mancini, Safety Manager. 

Safety is an every day conversation – not just on days with high risks.
“Safety is the first topic of every Summit Construction Coordination Meeting.  These meetings are held weekly on every SCC project.  During these meetings we not only discuss safe practices and areas for improvement, but also encourage our subcontractors to provide input as well.  This open dialogue creates an environment where all parties can implement change on the jobsite.” says Mr. Mancini. In order to contribute to the ever-improving safety mentality, attention to safety procedures must be strong year round, from the safest weather conditions to extreme advisories such as this one. 

For more information about staying safe during extreme cold temperatures, read about preventing cold stress here.