Working at height in winter can mean working in harsh conditions with wind, ice and snow all added hazards for industries carrying out work at height.
MEWPs (mobile elevated work platforms) are not only designed to be safe and fully functional in bad winter weather but are used for essential maintenance tasks.
Working at height in winter can increase the health and safety risks for workers and create additional access problems. Ensuring you have the right equipment and accessories for the job will keep your job site operating to its full potential, no matter the weather.
Sean our Senior Engineer, has gathered some of his top tips that will get you, your team and MEWPs safely through this winter.
8 helpful tips to keep you working at height safely in winter…
1. Check the weather
When working outside, check the weather forecast to avoid any unpleasant surprises and prepare accordingly. Is it freezing? Has it snowed overnight? Is it going to be windy or wet?
2. Check and double check
Safety is important in every operation, but even more so during winter. Try to start each shift with a series of checks to ensure that all equipment is safe to operate. You can simply follow the supplier’s recommended daily/weekly checks as outlined in the operator’s manual.
3. Extra MEWP winter maintenance
During winter your MEWPs require some extra maintenance. This way you can rest assured your equipment does not break down due to the cold weather.
- Make sure preventative maintenance visits are planned
- Store equipment that is not being used during winter in a temperature controlled area
- Run the engine periodically
- Cover control systems
- Plan periodic charging to control battery discharge rate - environment temperature affects battery discharge rate
For more advice on MEWP and access platform, winter maintenance tips, read the blog here
4. Get the right winter workwear
This one might seem obvious, but working at height in winter carries additional risks, such as hypothermia. Did you know that working an additional 100m in the air reduces temperatures by 1 degree in dry air? It might not seem a lot, but it adds up, especially if it's even slightly windy. Not only this but keeping warm means you can operate the machine functions safely.
Winter clothing should be wind-proof, and also wearing gloves and a hat are not a luxury to protect yourself from the cold.
While working, always keep poor visibility due to shorter days and bad weather into account by wearing a high-visibility vest and making sure all lighting is functioning
5. Check the ground and clear of snow and ice
Clearing the ground of snow and ice is a must. Not only does it prevent slipping, but it also enables you to see what obstacles might be hidden beneath. Remember, if you are travelling at height and hit a small pot-hole, the movement of the basket will be extreme.
6. Watch out for icy/slippery areas
With the cold comes ice, and uneven situations that would be safe in the dry runs the risk of immediately becoming a hazard. MEWP grade ability should be paid extra attention in these months, and if you suspect the machine might slip, please use dry levelling plates to prevent this.
7. Increase site visibility
Shorter hours sometimes bring dimly lit working conditions which can increase risks, both to the MEWP operator and those on-site. Ensure that the site is well lit before operating machinery.
8. Take plenty of breaks
This is important, especially in the winter months, as it helps you reduce fatigue and cut down on mistakes. The cold weather increases the calories used by a worker, and as a result, you tire more quickly. So have a hot flask on hand and take regular tea breaks.
That’s it! 8 top tips to help you get through the winter safely. If you need planned maintenance or repairs we can help. We also offer a wide range of work at height training and MEWP operator courses.
Our team of work at height engineers and specialists are always on hand to help answer any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to give us a call on +44 (0) 113 524 1018 or send an email to email@example.com.