Cold Weather Safety for Heavy Equipment OperatorsNovember 1, 2019
At Eagle Power & Equipment, we talk a lot about keeping your equipment safe in the cold winter months. Today, however, we want to talk about an even more important topic – keeping your workers safe in the cold!
Even when it’s cold, the construction projects roll on. This means long hours of being exposed to cold air, wind chills, freezing precipitation, and other hazards. We want to take some time to discuss the risks of operating equipment in the winter, and health hazards to be aware of.
Beware of Frozen Metal
When you go out to your equipment first thing in the morning on a wintry day, be sure to wear gloves and protect any exposed skin. Frozen metal draws the heat out of exposed skin and generates a painful cold burn – even worse, the slightest amount of moisture on your skin can freeze to metal and do significant damage.
Expect Poor Equipment Traction
In the winter, under-inflated tires and icy patches run rampant in heavy machinery. Ramps and bridges are particularly vulnerable to freezing, often icing over well before solid ground. Be sure to go slow and pay close attention to your machinery while working in wintry conditions to avoid slipping and sliding while you work.
Light Up the Night
Shorter, colder days mean more time spent working in the dark. In these cases, headlights simply may not be enough to illuminate ground hazards or poor road conditions. If the situation arises, it’s well worth the cost to invest in floodlights and a generator to keep everyone on the job safe in dark, hazardous conditions.
Know the Health Risks
There are many health risks involved with prolonged exposure to wintry conditions. Hypothermia, for example, is a condition in which the body’s temperature falls below 95˚F. Watch for uncontrollable shivering, decreased motor function, and difficulty speaking, all of which mean that the brain is being affected by the cold. Frostbite is another extremely dangerous, yet common hazard on winter construction sites. Keep an eye out for red, white, or waxy skin accompanied by numbness or tingling, which means that the tissue is beginning to freeze.
At Eagle Power & Equipment, we want every machine operator to stay safe and warm while using their heavy equipment. For more information about our equipment or to learn about the safety features of our products, we encourage you to contact us at our Montgomeryville, PA, West Chester, PA, or New Castle, DE locations. We look forward to hearing from you!