Picture it. The weather outside is damp and cold. Your boots are wet and soaking through to your feet; which are already tired as it is. Your hands can’t keep a solid grip on your tools and you know that by the end of the day you will be drenched through and through.
Anyone would be irritable and distracted if they had to work in those conditions. Make sure you keep your workers safe, healthy and productive by providing the right high visibility rain gear that they need to get the job done.
Certain times of the year bring different challenges, especially in the construction industry. During the winter months, while much of the country deals with snow and sleet, it is the rainy season in California and nearby regions. From October to March, much of the rainfall comes during those months increasing flood and property damage. It also impacts workers and, to keep the workforce safe, employers need to make sure their crews are outfitted with the right rainwear for the job. In fact, in many places, it’s the law.
Make sure your workers are protected with the right PPE for the season
- Rain Suit: A long day out in the elements requires clothing and outerwear that keeps a worker dry and comfortable. Preventing exposure to cold and damp conditions not only keeps your crew healthy with less sick time, but also increases productivity.
- Boots: Not only should boots be waterproof for comfort, but the winter months call for a boot that has good traction to prevent slip and falls.
- Anti-fog Spray for Lens: Safety glasses tend to fog up, especially in rainy weather, so make sure you have anti-fog wipes available. These little packets can fit virtually anywhere, so keeping safety eyewear clean and clear should never be a problem.
- Hi-Vis Rain Jacket: Rain, wind and fog all play a large role in visibility on a jobsite. Even when the fog doesn’t necessarily hinder vision, it can distort distances. Make sure workers can be seen and minimize hazards, even if conditions aren’t optimal by providing the correct PPE.
- FR Rainwear: Not only does the job sometimes call for high visibility and waterproof apparel, but sometimes we need a little added protection in the form of fire-resistance. Make sure your FR PPE needs are covered, especially when you don't know how mother nature will strike.
You assess all kinds of hazards on the job, don’t forget to address cold stress:
Wet weather and saturated ground conditions can elevate the risk for many safety concerns from live wires, cave-ins, lightning strikes, slip and falls and low visibility, as well as health risks associated with working in inclement weather.
Cold stress is an important factor and it doesn’t even need to be very cold to cause big problems. Cold stress drives down skin and core temperature and, at the very least, creates a very uncomfortable work environment. Wind and rain can magnify the effects of colder weather putting workers at risk for hypothermia and the extra exertion on a worker’s body trying to stay warm can lower their ability to fight off illness. By providing engineering controls like shelters and heaters, using safe work practices and providing workers with the right PPE, the winter weather won’t put a halt to progress.
There are enough hazards on a jobsite, why add more? Your state may or may not require you to provide wet weather PPE to your workers, but doesn’t it just make sense to minimize the long-term risk and payout? Inclement weather slows down the job enough as it is. By outfitting your workers with the right protection from the elements you reduce the amount of sick time that employees take and you can maximize the productivity your company experiences.