Working outdoors can come with a whole host of problems for the workers and the project itself. The work site, as well as the area around it, can have hazardous conditions when it rains or the snow from winter starts to melt. The onset of inclement weather and muddy conditions brings a variety of different hazards that must be considered when working on a construction site, including:

  • Slips, Trips, & Falls – Slippery and muddy worksite conditions considerably increase the likelihood of slipping or falling. This can be extremely dangerous when working with machinery, tools, and heavy equipment.
  • Sprains & Strains – Getting your feet stuck in the mud, trying to yank them out, and getting caught in awkward footing can lead to an increased chance of pulling a muscle or spraining your ankle.
  • Equipment Over-turn & Crashes – Overall traction and control of machinery and heavy equipment are greatly reduced when working in the mud.

 

Best Safety Practices When Working in Mud

 

Suitable Drainage

Having a proper drainage system is key to avoiding mud accumulation.  It’s extremely important to make sure a drainage system is in place at the building site for construction sites. Whether this involves grading the ground to provide slopes that naturally route water away from work areas, setting up culverts or drains, or utilizing gravel-filled trenches, or French drains to channel surplus water, they will all provide the site with drainage to avoid mud accumulation.

 

Stone or Gravel Base

Having a sturdy basis in places in high-traffic areas where large machinery is used can help with mud accumulation. Spreading a layer of crushed stone or gravel is a common way to create this sturdy base. This not only offers improved traction but also helps keep the ground from being overly soggy.

 

Temporary Roadways

Installing temporary highways is a common option in locations where heavy equipment is continually moving. Materials like steel plates, composite mats, or timber mats can be used to construct these roads. Doing this can reduce the pressure on the ground and evenly distribute the weight of the machinery, which prevents mud from forming.

 

Mud Mats

Consider putting mud mats at the entrance and exit points to construction zones to keep areas clean. Before accessing interior or less muddy places, workers can use these mats to scrape off extra mud from their boots.

 

Stabilization Techniques

In some circumstances, stabilizing the soil itself might help reduce mud accumulation. Specifically during rainy weather, adding binders, geotextiles, or even soil cement to the ground can make it more stable and less likely to dissolve into mud.

 

Scheduled Grading

Grading is the process of levelling the land and clearing off extra muck using large machinery. For the building site to be level and mud-free, regular grading is necessary. It should be a regular component of your site maintenance schedule, especially after a lot of rain or other bad weather.

 

Silt Fences

Silt fences or barriers are crucial for reducing mud and sediment flow into surrounding water bodies. In regions where erosion is a problem, they are often constructed around the perimeter of the building site. Silt fences should be routinely examined and maintained since they are intended to slow down the flow of water and allow sediment to settle.

 

Track-out Control

Implementing track-out control procedures can stop mud from being transported onto public roadways, particularly at construction sites close to highways or residential areas. These might be tire wash stations or gravel pads near the construction site’s entrances. Before cars approach the road, they can drive on gravel pads, which reduces mud transmission. 

 

Safety Equipment

Mud creates a dangerous environment on a building site. Giving employees the proper safety equipment to reduce accidents and injuries is a key aspect of workplace safety. Some common safety equipment that should be on-site at all times includes non-slip boots and the use of caution signs.

Most of these safety practices may seem like common sense and should be seen as standards when working on construction sites, but countless preventable injuries and accidents still occur in muddy construction site conditions. With proper safety training and knowing what hazards to be aware of, you’ll be equipped to use proper judgement and techniques to avoid any potential accidents.

You can find out more about the best workplace safety measures by calling us at 613-558-5385

Also, it may be a good time to find out more about Joint Health and Safety Committees Responsibility In Ontario