While the Chicago area’s brutal weather limits the number of outdoor construction projects during the winter months, many of them have to move forward. That means construction workers have to deal with a number of additional challenges because of the cold weather. These include things like digging through frozen ground and treating concrete with calcium chloride so that it can cure properly.
There are also some additional safety issues that construction workers in this area need to be aware of during the winter. One of these is avoiding hypothermia. Just as when it’s exceedingly hot out, in frigid temperatures, workers need to have regular breaks when they can come inside — in this case to warm up.
It’s essential for workers and their supervisors to know the symptoms of hypothermia so they can recognize it in themselves and others, move inside and get needed medical treatment. These symptoms include:
- Shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Coordination problems
Another safety issue associated with winter construction work involves vehicle-related injuries. This includes injuries suffered in work equipment accidents as well as in their own vehicles as they travel to their work site and then back home. It’s essential to have emergency supplies like food, water and blankets in your home and work vehicles in case you get stranded and help can’t get to you immediately.
Employers, contractors and site managers are responsible for providing the safest possible environment for their workers and for taking steps to ensure that they don’t suffer hypothermia and other medical conditions. If you or a loved becomes ill or suffers an injury while on a job site this winter and you believe that it could have been prevented, find out what your legal options are for seeking the compensation you and your family need.