Weather conditions are an important concern in the construction industry because of the potential impact it can have on a project timeline. Due to these impacts, our OSHA defense attorneys have handled numerous cases as a result of delays due to inclement weather. Outside of delays, weather conditions can be hazardous to workers causing serious injury or death.
In Florida, we generally deal with hot weather and hurricane season, but we can experience our fair share of cold weather at times. Although we don’t experience snow and sleet, special consideration should be given to cold weather especially when it reaches near extreme temperatures.
How to Prepare
As OSHA defense attorneys, we cannot stress enough the importance of an employer’s role in preparing and protecting workers from dangerous workplaces hazard, including weather-related hazards that can cause serious harm or death. Effective preparation will require employers to train workers, provide engineering controls, proper clothing for cold weather, and implementing safe work practices.
What’s Cold Stress?
Although Florida is not subject to nearly as extreme winters as some regions of the United States, construction workers still may be at risk for cold stress if temperatures drop to near freezing during the winter months. An increase in wind speed and body dampness can make it difficult for a worker’s body to warm itself which causes illnesses or injuries. This is why it is vital for workers to be trained to recognize the signs of cold stress. Although there are no specific standards pertaining to working in cold environments, workplace safety is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) first priority. An employer’s attention to safety should always be a high priority. An OSHA attorney is available to help you understand OSHA regulations as it pertains to preventing injuries and fatalities in the workplace so you can avoid unnecessary legal hassles as a result of injuries and fatalities.
Weather conditions are beyond your control, but you can make strides to prevent unnecessary injury and illness with the following tips.
- Break down larger projects into smaller projects to reduce outside exposure time.
- Pay attention to weather forecasts to plan work more effectively.
- Provide workers with the right personal protective equipment for cold weather.
- Educate workers on the signs of cold-related illnesses such as hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an excellent educational resource for how to recognize and treat cold-related illnesses.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.