Temperatures are plummeting in many parts of the country. What extra measures are you taking to protect your employees who work outdoors?
We temporarily shelter and heat our scaffold area, both for worker comfort and to protect the materials from freezing. If they have to work outside, we make sure the crew has coveralls, good gloves, hard hat liners, etc. Also, a couple extra breaks during the day to get the chill off helps a lot. Northern Minnesota in February = VERY COLD!
—Roger Olson, Owner, Sig Olson & Sons Plastering, Inc., Moorhead, MN
As we tell all our guys, you need to have the right clothing to work in this climate. There is no substitute for Carhartt winter gear. We also try to push them to use a heavy duty day cream for their faces. Burt’s Bees makes a good one (Carrot Day Crème). It keeps your face from burning in the cold winter wind.
—Joe Brazil, Mainline Construction, Island Park, NY
I ensure that they have the proper foot wear, winter jackets, hats and gloves, and that there is a warming station (i.e., heater) in close proximity to where they are working.
Encourage them to move to Texas. LOL.
—Raymond V. Lara
Yes it is cold! But nothing like you guys. Bundle up.
—Mike Taylor, Liddle Brothers Contractors, Inc., Tennessee
Every winter we tent and heat the exterior façades of the buildings we work on.
The workers want their 40 hour minimum of work—and pay, so we make every effort to make that happen. Usually we can convince the owner or general contractor to pay for the costs of doing so and they are usually amenable since they have schedules to meet.
We use diesel-burning salamander heaters that have integral fans so that the heat gets circulated.
We also leave vents at the top of the tent to allow the exhaust fumes to escape—and not asphyxiate the workers. Great caution is necessary to seal the windows and doors of occupied buildings so that the fumes don’t go indoors. We also exercise caution so as not to burn the building down. Fire extinguishers are always on hand.
—Rob Aird, President, Robert A. Aird, Inc., Frederick, MD
Here in the Phoenix, Ariz., area it’s going to be 80 today. Give the guys a day off to play golf! Sorry about that.