Winter brings huge changes and challenges for workers and non-workers alike. People often get sick and gloomy even at the onset of Autumn.
For tradesmen, the difficulty of work increases as the cooler months enter. Even a seasoned sparky, chippy or dunny diver can experience the risk of finishing up a job when days are wet and cold.
It’s your responsibility as a tradie to put your safety above all. Here are some tips to get you working safely and effectively during the season:
1. Wear proper clothing.
Getting the right winter clothes to cope with the seasonal demands is something not to overlook. Before battling the harsh weather, make sure to set up your armour in place to help you thrive in the cold temperature.
Depending on your climate, waterproof jackets, weather fleeces and thermals are advisable to achieve the level of comfort that your body needs. Thick socks and beanies are also good additions. Choosing to purchase high-quality, anti-slip gloves and boots can prevent you from losing grip on your tools and slipping over wet surfaces. Hi-vis workwear or vests are also useful when the days are shorter and when finishing a job before nightfall.
Buying an extra pair for each apparel is a wise move especially when the other garments are lost or damaged.
2. Guard your tools.
Winter affects the condition of tools and equipment. Proper safekeeping is required to avoid the risk of chips and breaks. Since tools are more prone to rust, moist and dust during this season, having sturdy and lockable storage is a good investment.
For instance, powered tools for gardening (lawn and hedge trimmers) may be set aside as the cold weather approaches. In this case, conducting a thorough cleaning and inspection is needed to maintain its usability and functionality after winter. Wiping its corners and other slender areas is advisable as part of regular upkeep.
Storing them in a dry and frost-free place is recommended to use them longer. Always check the manufacturer instructional guide to provide the best care for your tools before the winter transition.
3. Adjust your schedule.
Winter outdoor work can be subjected to inclement weather conditions. This can extend the time taken to complete works and should be considered when contracting to undertake such works.
Practically, indoor works may be more suitable to eliminate those risks where available.
Another advice is to stay extra careful as poor weather and early nightfall approach. Rushing to finish the job might cause a lot of pressure, which can result in an injury or more serious accident.
4. Check your insurance.
Slips and falls are common accidents among carpenters and electricians.
Getting a reliable insurance provider is necessary to have your expenses covered in case of unforeseeable events. Income protection plan, Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance and other life insurance policies are beneficial to prepare for worse.
Securing public liability insurance also protects your business against third-party complaints and lawsuits. Having your tools insured is also recommended to cover the cost of damaged or stolen equipment.
5. Learn to stop sometimes.
You’ve heard the old adage, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Prioritising your safety is not only a wise choice but also a necessity.
This is especially applicable when the weather delays your work for a short time. Beating the deadline is essential, but your safety is much more important. You can take advantage of the idle moments and accomplish other tasks that do not require risky procedures; such as catching up on paperwork.
It also prevents you from getting exposed to cold temperature which can cause illnesses like hypothermia. Keeping abreast of the weather updates is important to inform the client in advance of potentially delaying factors.
Winter Jobs to Consider
Whether you specialise in heating systems, home cleaning or gardening, here are the top winter jobs to consider:
- Hot water system maintenance
- Gutter cleaning
- Pest control
- Home insulation
- Garden maintenance
While indoor jobs are safer to take on during the cooler months, responding to your customer’s urgent needs sometimes wins over. In times like this, make sure to wear your winter-ready clothes, safeguard your tools, arrange your schedule and update your insurance. Most importantly, learn to say “no” to yourself if the weather presents a risk to your work.
The best way to keep your client’s trust is to set an agreeable schedule before commencing the work. Take into account the risk factors such as inclement weather and align this to your schedule to give your client realistic expectations. Take time to think about what project to accept to avoid future mishaps.