Cold Weather Impacts Construction Workers

Regardless of the time of year, construction workers are exposed to more hazards on the job than workers in other industries. From large machinery and dangerous equipment, the risk of falling from heights and the potential for other construction accidents is increased during the cold.

During the winter, the hazards presented by cold weather are also something that construction workers have worry about. Here are some common cold weather construction issues:

Slip, Trip, and Falls

While Tennessee might get a reputation as a southern state that’s hot year-round, the truth is that temperatures can drop well below freezing in the state during the winter, even in big cities like Nashville. While snow isn’t as common, precipitation is, and freeze warnings are sometimes issued.

When snow or rain fall, or when ice accumulates, slipperier-than-usual conditions are created. This creates a serious hazard for workers who spend a lot of time outdoors. The risk for a slip and fall accident is increased.

Cold Stress

Cold stress occurs when the body’s skin temperature, and eventually the body’s core temperature, is driven down, leading to potentially serious and even fatal conditions. What temperature might induce cold stress, or how cold is too cold, really depends on the person and the level of cold that they’re used to. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) explains that in regions that aren’t accustomed to winter weather, near-freezing temperatures can be considered extreme cold.

The risk of cold stress increases when the person’s clothing is wet or damp or when the person is improperly dressed for the weather; when the individual has poor physical conditioning; or when the person has certain predisposing health conditions, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.

Cold stress can lead to issues like trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. The latter is a condition where the heat of the body is being lost faster than it is being replaced, and can be fatal. Frostbite is not fatal, but can cause long-term injury and harm. This condition occurs when the skin and underlying tissues freeze.

Finally, trench foot occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to wet and cold temperatures, but can occur at temperatures well above freezing as well. As a result of lack of oxygen, tissues in the skin begin to die.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Construction workers rely on vehicles to transport both themselves and construction materials and equipment. When weather conditions are less than ideal, leading to slippery surfaces or impaired visibility, the risk of vehicle accidents increase.

Take Action Following a Workplace Construction Accident

If you have suffered a winter-related injury, our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for your rights. You may be eligible for benefits from any third party who is to blame for your harm (such as the driver of a third party vehicle). To schedule your free consultation and start the process of recovering damages, contact us today.