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Facilities Management Archives - John Burke Associates

Navigating Construction Work in Snow and Low Temperatures

employer responsibilities

As the temperature drops in the UK this week, the challenges of working in construction during snow or low temperatures are significant. Understanding the legal obligations, employer responsibilities, and practical advice for coping with these conditions is crucial for the safety and efficiency of any construction project. In this blog, John Burke Associates explains your key responsibilities to your workers.

Understanding UK Laws on Low-Temperature Working

In the UK, while there is no legal minimum outdoor working temperature, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 mandate that employers provide a ‘reasonableworking temperature. For construction sites, this means employers must assess risks and implement reasonable measures to protect workers from the cold. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on working in cold conditions, emphasising the need for risk assessment and management.

Employer and Site Manager Responsibilities

Employers and site managers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workers. This includes:

Risk Assessment:

Identifying potential hazards associated with low temperatures and snow, including risks of slips, trips, falls, frostbite, or hypothermia.

Providing Appropriate PPE:

Ensuring all workers have access to suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as insulated gloves, waterproof boots, and thermal clothing.

Site Safety Measures:

Implementing safety measures like gritting for icy surfaces, providing sheltered areas, and ensuring that equipment is safe to use in cold conditions.

Training and Awareness:

Educating staff about the signs of cold stress and the importance of regular breaks in warm areas.

General Advice for Working in Snow or Low Temperatures

Working in cold weather calls for specific precautions:

Stay Warm and Dry:

Layer clothing to stay warm and dry. Waterproof and windproof outer layers are essential.

Regular Breaks:

Take regular breaks in heated areas to prevent cold stress.

Stay Hydrated and Energised:

Drink warm fluids and eat high-energy foods to maintain energy levels.

Clear Snow and Ice:

Keep working areas clear of snow and ice to prevent accidents.

Check Weather Forecasts:

Be prepared and adaptable to changing weather conditions.

Conclusion

Working in construction during snow or low temperatures in the UK requires careful planning and adherence to safety standards. By understanding the legal framework, fulfilling employer responsibilities, and following general safety advice, construction sites can maintain productivity while ensuring the wellbeing of all personnel. Remember, the key to successful winter construction is preparation, awareness, and ongoing vigilance against the unique challenges posed by cold weather. Stay safe and stay informed!

COP26 and Commercial Property

Commercial Property

COP26 and Commercial Property

Since the beginning of the pandemic the commercial property sector has had to adapt much of how it operates. In addition to transforming buildings to be safer, adaptable, and more autonomous, the focus is now on sustainability. Consequently, the demand for more eco-friendly space and green sustainable buildings is on the rise. According to The Q3 RICS Facilities Management (FM) Survey, workplace and relocation FM is likely to see its biggest growth this year. Therefore, it’s important we follow RICS guidance to transform traditions.

Supporting Green Developments

Both investors and occupants alike are favouring sustainable solutions when it comes to property. From smart homes to the materials used to build them, the future is very much green! We are seeing a growing trend of “green buildings” bringing in a higher premium in contrast with “non-green buildings.” Such premium is now driving the market towards more sustainable developments than ever before.

Decarbonising commercial buildings

The commercial property industry is currently responsible for around 39% of energy related CO2 emissions. Furthermore, as of March 2020, “nearly two-thirds of UK homes are still failing to meet long-term energy efficiency targets with the majority of buildings predating modern energy standards” (BBC). Therefore, it is vital the industry prioritises the decarbonisation of such commercial buildings to meet net-zero targets.

Adopting Innovation

Developers are being urged to adopt new innovative technologies to retrofit buildings. Technology such as Smart Grids allows us to collate information and allow cross-communication across components and central systems. Thus, making buildings more efficient. Furthermore, software such as Digital Twin uses sensors to collect real-time data to highlight inefficiencies in a building’s energy uses. Using such technologies will accelerate the decarbonisation of commercial buildings, therefore contributing to the UN’s SDGs.

The Future is Green!

The world must collaborate to work towards a greener planet. Consequently, the demand for eco-building and retrofitting will continue to increase. As RICS Chartered Surveyors we urge you to keep up to date with industry standards. There is a RICS Commercial Property Conference on the 6 – 8 December 2021, please click here if you wish to join.