In the winter, construction workers can be exposed to harsh temperatures on the job. And when these conditions reach a certain point, they raise significant concern for the safety of those workers.
Of the 1,300 hypothermia deaths in the U.S. in 2019, 420 (or about 32%) were occupationally-related. Included in the list of outdoor occupations most at risk are construction workers.
To help keep construction workers safe on the job site in colder months, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides helpful guidelines on temperature thresholds that should pause work.
At What Temperature Should Construction Workers Stop Working in Winter?
A person’s drop in body temperature can be triggered not only by air temperature, but also wind speed. A body temperature below 95℉ is considered in hypothermia. When air and wind are factored together for wind chill, the rate at which the human body can lose heat greatly increases. Moisture or dampness from wet clothes can accelerate this heat loss.
OSHA generally recommends that non-emergency construction ceases when air temperatures reach -34℉ or lower and wind speeds are 10 MPH or more.
You can find a complete breakdown of these cold temperature thresholds, as well as warm-up period guidelines for more moderate work conditions, here.
When possible, OSHA recommends that heavy construction work is scheduled for the warmest part of the day (the early afternoon) during winter. This sets the foundation for a safer work environment and reduces the chances that you’ll need to reschedule work.
How CORIS Monitoring Supports Construction Site Safety
CORIS gives you the ability to remotely monitor construction site temperature and humidity levels around construction sites 24/7. From the convenience of a desktop or mobile device, you can assess whether or not it’s safe for workers to be on site and avoid potential hazards tied to cold stress. In the event that temperatures drop suddenly below safe levels during the work day, you’ll receive real-time alerts so you can quickly take action to adjust the work schedule and keep your workers safe.
Learn more about how the CORIS system benefits the construction industry.