Combating Cold & Ice in Construction

cold ice and snowflake

Construction doesn’t take a break in the winter. Our employees install systems, service roof top units and complete important work through the coldest months of the year. With winter, comes two big construction hazards: ice and cold temperatures. Employers and employees all have a responsibility to prioritize safety. Here are some best practices for combating ice and chilly temperatures.


Ice creates a huge hazard for slips and falls on job sites and it can be hard to see unless you’re walking right on it. Frost and ice can also develop on scaffolding, ladders and stairs, presenting even more slip and fall concerns.

What can employers do?

  • Post warning signs for dangerous areas and make sure the site is well lit so slick spots are more visible to workers.
  • Use salt and sand to melt ice and create traction.
  • Remove snow and slush whenever possible to prevent ice from developing.

What can employees do?

  • Invest in winter work boots with good grip so you have proper traction.
  • Move carefully when you’re not sure of the surface conditions.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to icy stairways and slick spots.
  • Inform your employer if you find an area that is icy so they can take care of it.


For employees working on rooftops, in ditches, or other exposed areas, winter temperatures can be a safety concern. Working in cold temperatures can lead to dehydration, frostbite, trench foot, and hypothermia.

Signs of troubleIf you, or a coworker, experience any of the following, immediately stop work, get to warm shelter and call for emergency help.

  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Confusion and/or fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsy movements

What can employers do?

Provide a warm shelter for employees to go to during breaks and schedule more frequent breaks. In addition, train your employers on how to recognize the signs of a cold-induced injury or illness.

What can employees do?

  • Dress warm with multiple layers. Make sure your fingers, toes and ears have enough protection.
  • Drink warm, sweet beverages, like sugar water or sport drinks.  Avoid drinks with caffeine, like coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
  • Eat warm, calorie-rich foods like hot pasta or casserole dishes.
  • Use the buddy system and work in groups or pairs and keep an eye on one another.