We had a short summer and fall came as abruptly as the warm weather left us! The seasons have been somewhat unpredictable this year, so it's important to be ready for whatever might be heading our way this winter.

Weather outlooks for the coming season are pointing towards another cold, relentless few months. It's absolutely imperative to prepare your company and your team for freezing temperatures to ensure on-site safety, so we've come up with some tips to get you started:

1. Review your risk assessments:
– There's an increase in risks associated with low temperatures, plus low temperature risks will change drastically from your warm weather risk assessments

2. Know which areas of construction are most at-risk and plan accordingly:
- Working at height
- Slips, trips and falls
- Quality and standards of equipment, machines, tools and gear
- Facilities (i.e. somewhere for workers to warm up or change clothes)

3. Educate yourself and your workers on low temperature safety:
- Appropriate clothing (layers and protection for head, hands & feet)
- Drink plenty of warm fluids as cold weather suppresses thirst
- Increase caloric intake as workers wearing heavy protective clothing in cold weather will release more heat
- Warm-up breaks (frequency will need to increase as temperature drops)
- Avoid the cold when exhausted, as the effects of cold weather will be stronger
- Make the site as warm as possible (use heaters where possible, insulate metal handles)
- Know symptoms of cold-stress and what to do; have an exit strategy - Work in pairs or groups so everyone on the team is accounted for and can be monitored in case of an emergency

Be safe out there!