As the UK recovers from the freezing temperatures and heavy snow fall brought by the ‘Beast from the East’, we take a look at the impact it had on the scaffolding industry, and how scaffolders can ensure safe work at height in poor weather conditions.
Businesses and schools across the UK struggled during the sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions caused by the notorious storm, with numerous employees unable to reach their place of work. It is thought that the industry which felt the biggest impact is the construction industry, due to much of the work taking place outside. Experts have stated that this is likely to mean that the construction industry will lose an astounding £2bn as a result.
With the ‘Beast from the East’ halting work entirely, less severe winter weather means that scaffolders must still continue with their work, despite risky conditions. Ensuring that a workforce is working safely in hazardous conditions is vital for businesses, particularly those in the construction industry. According to research, there have been 89 construction worker deaths in the past 10 years in the winter months alone. Therefore, workers must take every necessary precaution to reduce their risk to accidents during winter.
Working at height in the winter
Check the temperature
Whilst there is no legislation that deems how cold temperatures need to be before work outside should be halted, we would highly recommend that a ‘thermal comfort risk assessment’ is carried out.
Wear the right clothing
Wearing the appropriate PPE and clothing is essential to the wellbeing of scaffolders, as wind chill and low temperatures can result in hypothermia, reduced dexterity and altered alertness.
Clear snow and ice from all scaffolding components
Ice and snow are obvious dangers when working with scaffolding components, not only for scaffolders themselves but also for members of the public.
To learn more safe work at height, take a look at our comprehensive scaffolding safety resource page that outlines numerous safety procedures that should be undertaken in varying conditions, including a guide to winter working.