While the winter months slow down the number of construction projects you see around Pennsylvania, construction season never truly stops. From large-scale renovations to projects that simply ran long, there always seems to be some sort of construction happening throughout the state. Unfortunately, the winter months bring a new set of hazards to an already dangerous occupation.

Even in the best weather conditions, construction workers face severe accidents and catastrophic injuries. From falling off a scaffolding or tipped ladder to being struck by falling debris or a vehicle, construction workers can be seriously hurt on nearly every shift. Even the most safety-minded workers can fall victim to dangerous winter conditions.

Here are three conditions that can have a lasting impact on the health of a winter construction worker:

  1. Trench foot: This severe condition is generally caused by being exposed to wetness and cold temperatures for extended periods of time. The body will naturally constrict blood vessels to prevent heat loss, but that can be dangerous for circulation to the extremities.
  2. Frostbite: Exposure to freezing wind and harsh conditions can cause permanent injuries to the skin and underlying soft tissue. Frostbite can lead to skin damage and the loss of extremities that might suffer from poor circulation such as fingers, toes and ears.
  3. Hypothermia: When a worker’s core body temperature drops below a certain point, he or she can risk hypothermia. There are a range of symptoms such as uncontrollable shuddering, loss of consciousness and slurred speech.

Construction workers face dangerous conditions nearly every day on every job. Unfortunately, supervisors must ensure their safety during all seasons. Not only does this mean providing the necessary safety gear, but it also means keeping workers warm and dry and even the harshest weather.