Pacific Workers Compensation Law Center October 2019

Pacific Post October 2019

Rain, Sleet, and Fog The Effects of Cold Weather on the Job

As we head into fall, we’ll be experiencing all kinds of changes in the weather, including dropping temperatures. Colder weather often makes outdoor job sites more difficult to work on, creating more hazards than usual. In order to avoid any issues with your products or tools, here are some essential things to remember when working on any manual labor job site during the fall and winter. Cement Setting Cement sets and hardens through a process called hydration , where water changes the chemical makeup of the cement. The temperature of the cement directly affects how long that transformation will take. To sustain a durable finished product, the cement must dry as quickly as possible. If the concrete freezes before it can thoroughly dry, the cement’s interior durability is damaged beyond repair. Installing and Painting Drywall Installing drywall in cold weather (55 degrees Fahrenheit and below) can lead to brittle and cracked joint compounds later on, as well as an inability to contain moisture during a wet season. If possible, it’s best to add a heater to your work area to allow the drywall to dry properly.

If you’re painting, you’ll see issues with your paint being hard to spread, as cold temperatures change the chemical makeup of paint and cause it to thicken. Evaporation also takes longer in cold weather, so any paint you apply will take longer to dry. The longer application time and wait time for the paint to dry can delay your project significantly and affect your productivity. Mortar Freezing temperatures can affect the water-resistant properties of mortar and decrease the bonding strength. This can happen when the water content of the mortar is more than 6% because, if the mortar expands when freezing, it will disrupt the construction. Using mortar with fine sands or a high amount of lime content can increase its ability to retain water without damaging the construction. Machinery Rubber expands in cold weather, which can cause internal rubber in items like belts and hoses to crack and break, forcing you to address your equipment rather than your job. This also affects tires, so be on the lookout for cracked tires before driving anywhere. Be sure to check the air pressure in your tires as well, as air will condense the colder it gets. In winter, oil will thicken and can turn solid, causing improper flow and stoppage, which wreaks havoc on engines and other pieces of heavy machinery. Store all significant pieces of machinery indoors as much as possible with some sort of heat source to prevent the oil from solidifying. If you want to learn more about how cold weather might affect your job, we encourage you to research any products or tools you will be using. You can also check various equipment rental sites; equipment rental employees are always ensuring their products are properly used and taken care of, and they can point you in the right direction when it comes to any tool you may need.

“Colder weather

often makes outdoor job sites more difficult to work on, creating more hazards than usual.”

–The Lawyers For Injured Workers

833-722-9675 • 1

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