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Do Scaffolders Work in The Winter?

Scaffolding is a job which involves working at height, so it comes with a list of safety measures which you need to consider. When the temperature drops and the days get shorter, further precautions need to be taken into consideration when potential hazards could crop up at any moment. This might leave you wondering whether or not it’s actually safe for scaffolders to work over the worst of winter. 

So, do scaffolders work in the Winter? Yes, scaffolders do work over winter. However, Winter is a season where you need to take extra precautions in the world of scaffolding, as there are a number of different factors that can increase scaffolding hazards due to adverse weather conditions. If you need scaffolding work carried out in winter, it is possible but may be more difficult.

Read on to find out how scaffolders make work in the winter months possible.

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Do Scaffolders Work Throughout Winter?

Yes, scaffolders do work over the duration of winter, but they must be careful and look out for adverse weather conditions. If there are precautions in place which can still make working at height safe in these conditions, it is possible for scaffolders to continue working, but additional risks need to be considered and examined to ensure that the team and people on the ground are safe. 

Here are the risks which you need to consider when it comes to going ahead with scaffolding work in brisk temperatures: 

Poor Weather

Bad weather conditions that you would usually experience in winter such as rain, ice and snow can seriously affect the condition of the scaffolding planks and also affect the speed and safety of a scaffolding team, from fatigue and illness through working outdoors in cold temperatures. Poor weather may also affect how long erected scaffolding is left standing for. To make sure you are following the correct safety measures, you can read our blog on How Long Scaffolding Can be Left Standing.

Slippery Surfaces

Scaffolding boards can become extremely slippery when wet, cold or icy. If weather conditions aren’t too severe, the board may hold sufficient grip for a possible five hours. However, a downpour of rain or a snow shower can loosen its grip within two hours or less. So, if a scaffold board is slippery, we recommend turning it upside down. The downside is still safe as it ensures sufficient grip to work on.

It’s important to note that it is highly unlikely you will be able to turn the board twice, over the space of a few hours in these weather conditions. So, if the other side of the plank gets too slippery, you would have to stop your scaffolding work completely, in order to wait for one side of the planks to dry out.

What to Do in Order to Minimise Risks

If you’re looking at how, or if it is possible to minimise these risks, Hi-Point Access have listed the steps you can take if these winter conditions affect your scaffolding projects throughout winter.

Monitor the Weather

When it comes to working at height, scaffolders must monitor the weather conditions, it’s a part of the job to keep yourself and your workers safe. This is particularly important when we go into the cold winter months, because snow and ice are extremely dangerous for scaffolding workers. 

We understand that some scaffolding projects can be time sensitive, but judging a workstation’s safety is essential when working at height. If the weather conditions are too adverse, it isn’t safe. Working in extreme weather conditions is not possible.

Scaffolding planks are a necessity, which can easily become slippery, even if it doesn’t get below freezing – the rain can make scaffolding planks slippery too. We always follow the rule of sweeping and shovelling snow from scaffolding, before attempting to work at height. 

Furthermore, if the weather conditions are so severe that snow is covering the scaffolding boards in a thick layer, working in these types of adverse weather conditions isn’t safe. So, to further increase your safety measures, hold off on your current project until temperatures rise again and the snow and ice are gone. 

If the weather conditions are mild and you are dealing with a time sensitive project, there is luckily a handy solution to help keep warm. What you can do is assemble a temporary roof to your scaffolding, which is made in mind for those with projects going on throughout the colder months.

It isn’t just the scaffolding which needs looking out for – if you’re trying to make a judgement on whether it’s too cold to work, GOV UK states that it is by law that you must be checking the scaffolding, to make sure it’s safe.

Increase Health and Safety

At Hi-Point, we take the health and safety regulations of scaffolding very seriously. No matter the weather, your PPE should be up to standard.  A big factor to consider in health and safety is taking extra precautions when the temperature drops outside, which means completing regular safety checks. We have a full blog available which details the necessary PPE requirements for working on scaffolding, especially in adverse weather conditions.

Lower temperatures and extreme weather conditions can put stress on the materials from the scaffolding equipment, causing them to not act as they should. Because of this, we advise the scaffolding frames should be risk assessed more often and the erected scaffolding should be cleaned regularly to prevent ice or mud building up.

Reduce Slipping Risks

Slip-resistant boards are available to scaffolders, should it be necessary. The boards should not be placed on surfaces that are at risk of any scaffolding slipping. Furthermore, all workers should ensure they wear their harnesses where appropriate, as well as wearing the appropriate footwear which are suitable for working in winter.

Can Scaffolders Work in The Dark?

Of course, working on a scaffolding project in winter means the days are shorter. So, can scaffolders work in the dark? We recommend avoiding scaffolding work in the dark, as it can create serious hazards, and workers may not even be able to spot a hazard.

Whether the hazard is a piece of equipment on-site, or a protected area in which equipment and debris could fall, working in the dark easily increases the risk of a serious injury. If you’re unable to see a hazard when working at height, it’s difficult to protect yourself.

A lot of scaffolding projects are in areas which are accessible to the public, such as pavements. So when the days are shorter in winter, it’s important to ensure you have sufficient lighting on-site.

Winter Scaffolding Projects With Hi Point Access

At Hi Point Scaffolding, we’re here to assist with your scaffolding projects you have coming up in winter. Whether you are looking for traditional scaffolding, aluminium scaffolding, or even indoor scaffolding, there’s no project too big or too small to assist you with your scaffolding needs. Our experienced team is here to help. Simply get in touch with us to receive your free quote. Or if you have any further questions on using scaffolding in winter, our team is here to answer any of your questions.

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