How to Combat Construction Obstacles During New England Winters

Builders who live in sunny Florida don't even think about winter stopping them from doing their work. But in New England…that's another story. New England winters can be sparkly and cozy, but they can also be brutal. With ice, wind, snow, and your all-too-familiar blizzards, any work being done outdoors can often come to a screeching halt. But there are several ways to keep on keepin' on, when old man winter hits hard. It's not only about site safety, but also about keeping workers healthy and safe throughout the season. Being experienced with trudging through many New England winters, we're happy to share some of our tips for combating wintertime construction obstacles.

Plan Ahead: Make sure you get any digging and groundwork finished before the ground freezes. That includes paving, initial landscaping, stonework, etc. With that out of the way, there are plenty of other things that can be done indoors during the cold months, and with good planning, the schedule can be closely maintained. Also, check the weather reports every day to determine the best type of work to be done that day, and to get a heads up if you'll need to quit early.
Inspect Your Site: Inspect your work site each day in order to detect any critical obstacles such as downed power lines, etc. You never know what hazards could have developed overnight due to ice, snow, and wind.
Work Inside: Once the cold weather hits, indoor construction can begin and keep going. Install HVAC, run indoor plumbing, and hang and finish drywall. Winter is also a good time to take care of insulation, and in fact it's a great time to locate thermal leaks. Contractors can also take advantage of the winter to take care of interior finish carpentry on cabinets, moldings, stairs, fireplace mantels, and other interior trim, as well as painting. And speaking of indoors, make sure workers have a trailer or another indoor warm-up space if they need to be outdoors.
Wear Proper Gear: Don't skimp on providing workers with protective gear including the right footwear for the season. Invest a bit in getting everyone zipped up correctly, and save a lot of injuries and expense down the slippery road of winter. It's easy to overlook in the winter, but workers still need to drink a good amount of water in the cold months, so provide plenty of drinking water.
Train Workers: Another way to combat construction obstacles in the winter months is for workers to be on top of their game regarding their own safety. It's important to include proper training in workplace conditions, strategic scheduling, and recommendations for food and drink during the cold months. You can order OSHA's Cold Weather Stress Card they provide as a reference guide for ways to prevent wintertime illness and injury.