Project Manager Ryan Browne is fearless in the face of record snowfall, temperatures in the negatives for weeks on end, and radical wind chills. Here are the winter job site tips he fine-tuned over the past 3 years constructing schools and libraries in Laramie, Wyoming.
In frigid climates, it’s extremely important to wear clothes that keep you warm and able to perform your daily tasks on the job site. Keeping your core and extremities protected can significantly impact efficiency and safety on the job site. Wearing hats/ear warmers, gloves and insulated clothing is the first step in ensuring a productive winter day on the job site.
In the summer, crews are encouraged to take frequent breaks in order to hydrate and rest to avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Similarly, winter crews are encouraged to take warm-up breaks to keep their muscles and joints warm in order to perform their work for the day. Generally, for every hour worked, C/S crews would take a heated 10-20 minute break to help them continue working. By doing so, crews avoid sluggishness, frostbite and disorientation that can all be attributed to over exposure to cold.
Many are unaware of the true potential that wind chill can have during the winter months. What could look like a bright, sunny day can feel dramatically colder due to wind speeds. For example, a 20-degree day can feel like a -20-degree day due to excessive wind. As a general rule that Ryan would follow, if the wind speed was over 20mph and the temperatures were below zero degrees, it was unsafe for crews to work
Ensuring the safety of the crew is the most important thing on any job site. With icicles, black ice and heavy snowfall prevalent in the winter, project leadership is responsible for ensuring that their site is safe for employees and site visitors at all time. Keeping snow shovels and ice melt on-hand at all times can help keep pathways clear of snow and ice for easy travel in and out of the site. Also, removal of excessive snow and icicles near walkways or overhangs can avoid anything falling on someone on the site.
Paying attention to road conditions is key for not only the job site crew, but also deliveries to the site. Being aware of major road closures or slow downs can ensure that you give yourself enough time to safely get to the job site in time. It can also play a role in scheduling when it comes to material/equipment deliveries. If major roadways are closed or traffic is moving slower than usual due to winter conditions, deliveries may be delayed or postponed. Staying aware and help you avoid these issues or help you plan ahead and accommodate. Click here for more tips on winter job site travel.
Ryan is currently leading a project for the Northstar Community Services District in Northstar, CA. He has carried-over several of these best practices in leading this project, which will continue through the winter.