As with any season, spring construction brings its own unique challenges. Especially spring in Minnesota, it’s difficult to predict the environment in which our crews will be working. The weather can change on a dime, the ground might not be thawed completely, soils are heavily saturated, and temperatures or sun exposure varies from day to day.
It pays to be prepared. BCI Construction does the best we can to battel the conditions. Sure, it means we are storing a lot more items in our trucks, but it’s worth it. As the season kicks into high gear, these are the most important construction hazards to be aware of in the spring.
Dress for Success
It’s important to bring plenty of protective gear and clothing along to the construction site. Construction crews should come prepared with bright, reflective gear. Rain and fog can make visibility an issue, so rain gear, hats, and safety goggles are necessary, as well. The temperatures might warmer than it was a few months ago, but continuing work after getting soaked from a spontaneous spring shower is miserable. Keep a spare set of clothing, quality rain gear, dress in layers, and breathable/waterproof boots.
As temperatures increase, crews should be wary of overexposure from the sun. We’re all used to getting “farmer’s tan” from t-shirt sleeves, but too much sun exposure leads to major health problems down the line. Weather permitting, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible. And don’t forget the sunscreen! UV protection is important, even if it doesn’t seem like a relatively sunny day.
Clean Your Gear
This might seem a bit alarmist, but muddy boots and gear are a safety hazard on construction sites. Keeping your gear clean isn’t just a tip to help prolong the life of your tools and supplies, it can protect you and others from a potential safety hazard. Wipe off any excess mud from your boots before using heavy machinery or climbing ladders/stairs. This will not only keep it clean (because what construction site is ever completely clean?) but it will help prevent slips and keep the machinery working properly.
Keeping Construction Going
Just because there is a little precipitation, it does not mean we are not right back to work once the rain is over. We pride ourselves on maximizing our work opportunities each day through various temporary protections, quickly restoring a site to working conditions (i.e., pumping water out of foundation holes), and being flexible in work performed through other site opportunities. We find a way to keep the progress of your project moving forward, regardless of the weather.
If there is a major impact caused by weather, we replan and take a new approach to the project delivery to minimize schedule impact. We have strategic relationships with our architects, subcontracts and partners to ensure we can continue to move forward on the Owners behalf.
Have a Set Plan
Along with preparing outerwear and extra clothing, your crew should also have a clear plan for all weather conditions. For example, lightning on a worksite can cause catastrophic damage or injuries. When weather changes, make strict rules for the entire crew to follow. Those operating machinery should check for stability and visibility before starting. If the weather turns for the worse, everyone on the crew should be aware of when to continue working and when to safely take a break or cut the day short. Good companies have emergency response plans for every unique site.
You should also be prepared for rising temperatures. Even if the day doesn’t include hazardous humidity or soaring temps, hard work and protective gear can cause your crew to develop heatstroke. Be sure to take plenty of hydration breaks and supply water (not just pop or coffee) to keep the crew healthy.
Spring is a busy season for the construction industry. Whether you’re building an addition to a building, repaving a road, or remodeling an interior, safety should always be the first priority. BCI has decades of combined experience–including safety protocols and successful project management. Learn more about our process.