• 8 November 2023
  • 270
Scaffolding in winter: what to do
Scaffolding in winter: what to do

In autumn and winter, check the forests early in the day

Beginning in the fall, check scaffolding daily before starting work. This should be done to ensure that there is no frozen dew or frost on the deck boards. As temperatures drop at night, water and dew are more likely to freeze, creating slippery surfaces—potentially dangerous conditions. Although ice melts as temperatures rise throughout the day, scaffolding boards may remain slippery to work with depending on the weather. In this case, ensure that no scaffolding is used or that the crew starts working later in the day.

Check the weather forecast before work

In addition to conducting additional scaffold inspections, scaffolding companies must take weekly and monthly precautions to ensure accurate weather forecasts for the coming week. For example, if snowfall, strong winds and freezing temperatures are forecast, you can take the necessary precautions to inform staff, make decisions and maintain good communication with the client.

Invest in extra lighting for dark evenings and high-visibility clothing

Although winter brings many celebrations, it also comes with dark mornings and dark evenings. In December it can feel like it starts getting light at 8am and gets dark at 3pm, which isn't ideal for scaffolders and contractors who have to work before, during and after that time.

This is why it is extremely important to take precautions to create a well-lit area. This will not only keep workers safe as they will be able to see the work they are doing, but will also make the site visible to others outside the jobsite such as pedestrians and drivers, which is especially important if the work is taking place in a commercial building or in a busy pedestrian area.

In addition to additional lighting, you should also ensure that construction workers wear high-visibility clothing. This will help improve their visibility on site and make work safer.

Provide employees with extra breaks in bad weather

If you have a tight deadline but are faced with bad weather, getting your crew to work can be frustrating and challenging. The way to fix this is to ensure that workers take extra breaks, are well-fed, and spend time in a warm building to avoid the risk of illness and maintain good team morale.

Require employees to dress warmly

This may seem obvious, but you should make sure workers are dressed warmly for work. This may include warm, high-visibility jackets designed for outdoor work, or insulation with thermal underwear.

Ensure employees wear durable, non-slip shoes

As with warm clothing, ensure that construction workers wear non-slip shoes when erecting or working on scaffolds. Work boots are specially designed for good traction and resistance to sub-zero temperatures. In the end, bad shoes can cause a number of unpleasant incidents for which you will have to answer.

Make it mandatory to wear non-slip, warm boots all winter, and don't let construction workers work at height if they don't wear them.

Don't work if the weather is particularly bad

Of course, if heavy snowfall is forecast for several days, it is extremely important to prevent the work from continuing. This is due to the fact that slippery icy surfaces, sub-zero temperatures, and a decrease in productivity may occur. It's simply not worth it to jeopardize the safety of your forests and force people to work. Moreover, it is likely that public transport will be disrupted and traffic conditions will be less than favourable. If construction workers have to travel far to get to work, you may simply be putting them at risk before the workday has even properly started.

Maintain good communication with the client

If there are indeed unexpected changes in the weather or you think it is still too cold to work outside on scaffolding, you should maintain good communication with the client. Simply advising that work will not be carried out for now and providing a timeline for when work will begin and how it will impact the renovation or construction overall will help establish a good working relationship.

In any case, it is recommended to have good communication with the client simply because it will mean that you will receive positive feedback, it is good practice and you will have a better chance of getting work in the future.

VIRASTAR offers scaffolding kits and individual elements. To find out more, simply contact us today.

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