In order for economic growth to continue, New York is in a constant state of expansion and development. What were once residential areas eventually wind up developed into more urban, commercial zones, while outlying areas and farmland become suburbs over time.
All of that change and growth means a near-constant demand for construction services across the state of New York. Although some companies do close seasonally, many construction workers and contractors can work year-round in New York if they choose to do so. Sadly, those winter weeks can bring with them extra risk while at work.
Whether the project in question is a new sub-development that will provide single-family homes or a high-rise tower, construction will likely continue regardless of how blustery the New York winter becomes. Unless this is your first year in construction, you are probably already familiar with some of the unique seasonal issues that arise in the industry during the winter. You may be at increased risk for certain construction workplace injuries when there’s snow on the ground or freezing temperatures.
Snowy, windy weather can increase your risk for a fall
One of the biggest risks for construction workers is the potential for a fall that could leave them severely injured or even dead. Regardless of whether someone works on the roof of a residential property or provides welding for structural steel in larger buildings, a fall while at work could prove devastating for the worker.
Proper gear can do a lot to help people avoid slips and falls during optimal weather conditions. Work boots with excellent tread, harnesses and other safety equipment can keep construction workers safely in place while working at dangerous heights.
Unfortunately, in the winter months, snow accumulation, high winds and other factors can increase the likelihood of construction workers in open or elevated places experiencing a fall. Additionally, those same risks might increase the potential for other construction workers to drop tools or equipment or having such items slide from their position above you, leading to falling object injuries.
The weather itself can pose a threat
Being out in sub-zero temperatures can be unpleasant while walking from your vehicle to your place of work. If you have to be out in those temperatures for hours on end, you run the risk of developing injuries, including cold stress and frostbite. Warming stations, windbreaks and even shorter shifts may all become necessary for the safety of construction workers in the worst weather.
If there’s any silver lining to these seasonal risks, it’s that winter construction projects can involve premium pay and that workers’ compensation claims can protect some workers, while claims against companies that don’t ensure a safe work environment may help others who end up hurt on the job.