Tag Archives: winterizing

Winter Weather Safety

When winter weather strikes, it can damage your equipment and cause harm to your employees. Keep your employees safe in winter weather with these tips. 

Want more information? Download our complete guide to winter construction site prep!

Personal Safety in Winter Conditions

Prevent slips, trips, and falls.

A boom lift with Hugg & Hall stickers in winter weather. The tires and top of the machinery are dusted with snow.

As temperatures approach the freezing point, it’s necessary for your company to help prevent slips, trips & falls. Thin patches of ice begin to occur when air temperatures reach the 30s and become dangerous quickly.

Proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) plays a significant role in keeping employees safe. Winter PPE includes non-slip footwear, gloves, jackets/coats, and hard-hat liners. This article from Construct Connect has additional information about winter PPE. 

Even when your team has the appropriate PPE, equipment and ladders create additional jobsite hazards in winter. Conduct routine inspections for surface ice on your equipment. If you detect any snow or ice, clear the surface immediately and make sure your team’s footwear is free of snow and ice. As always, make sure your team is in their fall-protection gear for additional safety. 


Recognize cold-related illness and act quickly.

Know the signs of hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot and be prepared to administer first aid while you wait for emergency services. Your quick action can save a life.


Early signs of hypothermia include shivering, loss of coordination, confusion, and fatigue. Prolonged hypothermia leads to blue skin, dilation of the pupils, lowered pulse rate, and a possible loss of consciousness.

If an individual on your team is experiencing the symptoms of hypothermia, alert the job supervisor and request medical assistance. Move the victim into a warm area. Remove any wet clothing and cover the victim with additional clothing or blankets. Warm beverages may help increase their body temperature. Once their body temperature has increased, keep them warm and dry.


Frostbite begins with a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, and can cause permanent damage to body tissue. It can even lead to limb amputation. Frostbite symptoms include reduced blood flow, numbness, tingling, stinging, and pale, waxy skin. The nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes are most commonly affected by frostbite. 

If an employee is suffering from frostbite, take them to a warm area. The victim should avoid using the affected appendage and immerse it in warm—never hot—water. If no warm water is available, keep the affected area warm with body heat. Never rub the frostbitten area and do not expose it to direct heat. 

Trench Foot

Trench foot is an injury caused by exposure to wet and cold conditions over a prolonged time. If the temperature is below 60°F and the worker’s feet are constantly wet, trench foot is a legitimate concern. Symptoms include discoloration, numbness, lower-body cramps, swelling, blisters, and subdermal bleeding. 

To care for trench foot, remove the victim’s shoes and socks and dry their feet. Request medical attention. The victim should not try to walk, because walking can cause additional damage.


Provide heated break-spaces.

Taking breaks in heated areas and breaks for proper hydration are essential to winter safety. Encourage your employees to take time away from the elements. Breaks are also a convenient time to check for signs of cold-related illness.

To provide Your employees with a heated break area, check out these heaters. Make sure to properly vent the area and monitor for carbon monoxide exposure. Read our blog for more information on using heaters safely


Put emergency kits in work vehicles.

Make sure each of your work trucks and vehicles have winter weather kits. Kits should include water, nutritious snacks, blankets, a flashlight, an ice scraper/snow brush, and more. 

Now that you know the dangers of winter conditions & how to prepare for them, you will be better able to stay active and productive while keeping your employees safe in winter weather. For further preparation we recommend keeping an updated calendar and having a set breaking system to keep your employees safe.

Interested in learning more about keeping your team safe and your equipment in tip-top shape? Download our complete Winter Prep Guide

Want more winter weather tips and tricks? Check out our resources section

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2021. We updated it for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in January 2023. 

10 Quick Ways to Winterize Your Equipment

Even people who love winter don’t love its impact on construction sites. Snow and freezing temps can cause huge delays and damage your equipment. We’ve got ten quick and easy tips for winterizing equipment so you can start enjoying the snow again! 

Want more information on how to keep your jobsite safe during winter weather? Download our complete guide to winter construction site prep

1. Use weather-appropriate oil and coolant

It’s a good idea to switch to a low-viscosity oil before winter. They are thinner and flow faster than a high-viscosity oil. In cold temps, low-viscosity oils provide better startup protection for your equipment. The faster your oil reaches your engine components, the less wear on the engine. 

Your coolant ratios can also affect your engine negatively in the winter. Typically, the recommended ratio of coolant to water is 50/50, but this ratio is more likely to freeze because of the high water content. A 70/30 ratio can help prevent freezing.

Check out this coolant article if you have additional questions about winter coolant levels. 

2. Clean your equipment prior to storing

Dirt, mud, snow, and other contaminants can harden on equipment. Cleaning helps keep your equipment in good shape. Pay special attention to the engine bay, undercarriage, wheel hubs, breaks, and exposed areas. These are vulnerable to damage. 

3. Properly maintain and store batteries for the colder months

If you’re using your equipment during winter, verify that the battery electrolyte is filled to the indicated level. Clean the terminal of the battery to prevent it from slowly draining. Never charge a frozen battery, as this may cause it to explode

If you’re not using your equipment, remove the battery and store it in a clean, dry area. Leave it connected to a battery maintainer to ensure it stays charged. 

4. Protect your tires

Lower temperatures reduce tire pressure. Always check the pressure and inspect tires for wear and tear. If possible, consider using track-mounted equipment in the colder months. 

5. Store your equipment 

Reducing moisture is one of the top priorities when you’ve chosen to store your equipment. Your storage site should be enclosed with a concrete floor, not a dirt floor, to reduce moisture. Keep the windows of any vehicle cabins cracked to allow air to circulate. This helps reduce mold and moisture buildup in the cabin. You can take rodent-resistance measures by adding a ball of steel wool in the exhaust pipe and air intake openings and placing mothballs inside cabins. Always check that all pest deterrents are removed before operation. 

6. Maintain your fuel tank

Maintaining the fuel tank prevents condensation inside the tank and fuel lines. Fuel treatments thaw frozen fuel filters, liquefy fuel, and remove moisture from the tank and lines. Keep a spare filter available for your convenience. 

7. Remember to grease

Maintain all grease points, even if your equipment isn’t in use. Moisture is your enemy in the winter, and greasing prevents moisture buildup and damage to your equipment. Manufacturers recommend using low-temperature lubricants during the colder months. 


8. Check fluids

Regularly check fluid levels and top off when necessary. If your engine oil is thick or sooty, change the oil before storing or using it in winter. Antifreeze levels are particularly important to check regularly. 

9. Conduct routine maintenance, even if the vehicle won’t be used 

Take advantage of the off-season to address any maintenance issues and examine equipment for potential issues. Preventative maintenance can help prevent downtime during the busier months. 

10. Monitor diesel exhaust fluid for freezing

If your equipment is using Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), make sure you have a way to heat and thaw it. DEF will freeze at 10 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. 

If you or your company need any additional resources, Hugg & Hall is here to help! Contact our service department if you have any questions about winterizing equipment.

Interested in learning more about keeping your team safe and your equipment in tip-top shape? Download our complete Winter Prep Guide!


Want more winter weather tips and tricks? Check out our resources section

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and was updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in December 2022.