The weather is cooling down, the leaves are changing colour and the days are getting shorter. Of course we all know what that means! Winter is just around the corner. While most members of the general public might be under the impression that the construction industry comes to a standstill during the winter months, we know that that is simply not true. We work through the dark mornings and evenings, the slush, the ice, and the harshly cold elements. And with the winter season comes an elevated set of safety concerns and practices.
Here are some great winter construction safety tips from Toolbase Services, concerning propane heaters:
- Have heaters inspected, tested, and repaired if necessary by a qualified LP-Gas technician prior to the heating season.
- Be sure to keep propane tanks upright, at least six feet from the actual heater, and on a firm, level surface.
- Do not use heaters in an area where they may easily ignite combustible materials (e.g., paint, paper, or plywood). Do not place a heater directly on a plywood floor — position it instead on a 4-foot by 4-foot square of fire-resistant drywall or cement-board.
- Protect all hoses from physical damage and exposure to excessive heat. Avoid running hoses through a doorway, as a closed door will pinch the hose, thereby causing potential damage to the hose and improper gas flow to the heater. If a hose runs through a window, make sure to put a block on the sill to prevent the window from closing on and pinching the hose.
- Do not operate a heater in an unvent-ilated area. Always crack a few windows (on the second floor, where possible) to evacuate excess accumulation of fumes and heat.
- Do not use site heaters in a manner for which they were not intended (e.g., cooking or warming/drying clothing).
Another valuable source for winter construction source is this government published Winter Construction Safety PDF.
The most important tip that I believe a contractor, planner, or builder can keep in mind is to work at a steady and practical pace. Do not rush or neglect to think through all of the steps it will take for you to complete the task at hand. Of course this is simple common sense but sometimes a little reminder is all we need to stay safe in less than ideal weather, especially when you are an experienced construction expert.