While winter can be pretty mild along the Gulf coast, there are areas where shipyards need to prepare for the winter. In cold climates, winter can take a serious toll on any industrial or shipyard environment. OSHA has provided a series of recommendations to help maintain your winter safety protocol. If you need to consider winter weather, here are a few things you can do to keep your crew safe.
Encourage Proper Clothing
In winter weather, make sure your team is wearing the right clothes to protect from cold, wind, or wet conditions. At the same time, you also need to maintain proper safety standards, such as no loose clothing near machines used for fabrication. Communicate the proper winter dress code early and often, providing suggestions for weather protection.
De-Ice High Traffic Areas
Outdoors, especially in environments such as shipyards where water can play a major role, be sure to maintain high traffic areas, walkways, decks, and high platforms. Keep them free of ice and snow, through shoveling, salting, or other methods that will help your team avoid falls, especially from heights.
While it’s important to maintain machinery all year long, some may need a little extra maintenance in the wintertime. For example, vehicles such as forklifts or cranes should be inspected and kept in working order to avoid freezing fuel lines or other common dangerous situations.
Provide Additional Safety Training
While safety training will always be a part of working in a shipyard, it’s helpful to offer additional training specifically tailored for winter weather. Discuss proper protocol, your responsibilities, and the responsibilities of each employee and reinforce compliance throughout the season.
Address Inclement Weather Concerns
There may also be occasions that the weather is too severe for your team to work onsite. While it won’t happen very often in the Gulf area, it is possible and safety should always be a top priority. If a winter weather emergency is expected, make sure you have a communication plan in place. How you determine what conditions constitute an emergency should be consistent with state and local approaches.