Tag Archives: OSHA

Build Safe in Winter Weather

Build Safe in Winter Weather

Post frame building construction lends itself well to winter weather building, as concrete pours are minimized to just a minimal amount around building columns. Once columns are poured, time for full speed ahead – or as much full speed ahead as can be garnered in frigid weather.

Prior to my lovely bride’s motorcycle accident (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/10/when-life-changes-in-the-blink-of-an-eye/), she and I helped her brother erect his 36’ x 48’ post frame garage/shop – installing steel roofing on a 5/12 roof slope in sub-zero temperatures in January. Oh what fun!

Back in my M & W Building Supply days, I recall near-horror stories from Jim Betonte’s crew as they assembled a ski resort pole building in mid-winter: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/04/2014-winter-olympics/.

Here are some winter building tips from National Framers Council’s Mindy Caldwell:

As you consider day to day hazards with regard to winter weather safety, a recent article from EHS Today suggests “using the hierarchy of controls to eliminate and minimize winter hazards can reduce risk and the potential for injuries.” While it’s not possible to eliminate low temperatures or substitute warmer weather, there are changes that can be made to minimize risk of accidents. For example, wearing ice cleats instead of work boots and using enclosed aerial lifts instead of ladders can reduce slips and falls. The article also suggests a variety of simple engineering controls such as wrapping the handles of metal tools and using tarps to shield workers from the wind.

NFC’s FrameSAFE program includes a Toolbox Talk on preventing hypothermia and frostbite that provides a quick reminder of the primary symptoms of these conditions.

Consider reviewing this information with your employees regularly. While OSHA does not have a specific standard for working in cold weather, employers are still required to identify hazards and provide a safe workplace.  OSHA’s requirement to provide potable water to employees (see 1926.51(a)(1)) is also applicable in cold weather as the dry air affects hydration.

OSHA provides more specific recommendations on its winter weather web page. This guidance includes information on staying safe while clearing snow from walkways and rooftops. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has also recently revised its information on protecting workers in cold environments. Learn more about cold stress on the CDC website.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru adds:

Regardless of weather conditions, always err towards caution side when building, lives can be saved and one might just be yours!


Ladder Safety

Helping you to NOT be like this guy on a ladder…

As my father died from a construction fall, I am always a bit sensitive towards safety on jobsites when it comes to possible falls. While Hansen Pole Buildings does not construct anything, we want all of our clients, or their contractors, to live to build another day.

The following was originally published March 6, 2017 by National Framers Council:

“In a day and age when “Idiots on Ladders” win contests, and some researchers suggest that human beings are hardwired for bad decisions, the reasons for an industry-wide focus on ladder safety seem apparent. While a hearty laugh at another’s unbelievable choices make for a good Facebook post, the reality of the situation is much more sobering. A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that work-related falls from ladders caused 113 deaths and almost 15,500 nonfatal injuries that resulted in at least one day away from work in 2011.


According to OSHA, one in five worker fatalities in the private sector reported in 2015 were in construction, with falls being the leading cause of death at 38.8 percent. In 2016, fall protection violations were once again number one on OSHA’s list of most frequently cited OSHA standard violations, with ladder citation making the list at number seven.

Besides avoiding the obvious (and sometimes comically depicted) no-no’s of the proper use of this vital framing tool, “ladder safety really boils down to daily inspection and proper use,” explains NFC Safety Committee Chair Kenny Shifflett of Ace Carpentry in Manassas, Virginia. “Ladders should be inspected prior to every use and taken out of service if damage is found.”

As is the case with any facet of jobsite safety, proper training and accountability are paramount. When the National Framers Council (NFC) created the FrameSAFE program, the safety committee dedicated a great deal of time and effort to developing the fall protection modules, including specific resources for promoting ladder safety.

To foster greater awareness of the safe use of ladders this month and throughout the year, NFC is making its FrameSAFE Toolbox Talk on the proper use of extension ladders available for free download until the end of March. Check out the full library of Toolbox Talks available with a FrameSAFE subscription. These documents are key to developing an ongoing culture of safety.”

The NFC website is: https://www.framerscouncil.org/.

When it comes to constructing your new post frame building, have fun, be safe!