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Using a Generator Safely During Winter Construction

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Construction in the winter months can experience all types of weather from sleet and rain to heavy snow and ice storms. Winter storms can often cause power outages. This often means construction managers can't work. However, with the use of the right generator, companies can continue working in spite of the cold weather.

Outdoor power sources can save you a lot of time on a construction site. It's important to make sure you use your generator correctly. Misuse can create risks like electric shock and carbon monoxide poisoning.

We've listed a few key tips here to help you use your generator safely on site.

Get a Safe Location
Equipment placement is important. The area you put your generator in should have proper ventilation for exhaust. Make sure the exhaust can escape freely from where your generator is placed. The Centers for Disease and Prevention suggests placing the unit a minimum of 20 feet from windows, doors, and vents. Generators should never be used indoors - carbon monoxide can be deadly.

Avoid Electric Shock Hazards
You may need to connect electrical cords to your generator during a storm. Working with a generator in snow or rain can be very dangerous. Make sure the generator is away from wet areas, moisture can cause electrocution or shock. Stay away from pools of water or piles of snow on the ground.

If you need to adjust your generator while it is raining or snowing, get the machine to a dry area, such as under a canopy. The area should have proper ventilation and not be somewhere snow or water can accumulate. The generator should also be elevated off the ground if possible.

Once it is placed correctly, make sure the unit is off. Don't plug extension cords or power cables into the system while it is running.

You can eliminate the need for extension cords by using an inlet box and a transfer switch. This system allows you to run the main circuits through a power cable that connects the generator to the inlet box. This set up can run a heating device and isolate the electrical system, reducing your risk of shock.

Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Indoor Areas
If you are working in an enclosed area, additional safety precautions should be considered. Each work area should have a carbon monoxide detector. This will prevent any carbon monoxide leaks on the job site. Even if the windows and doors are open, carbon monoxide exhaust may not escape fast enough.

If you are working in a residential area, take care not to affect the neighbors. Keep your generator away from nearby houses to prevent exhaust heading in their direction.

Even if you are taking precautions, you should be on the lookout for any sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms can include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath. If you or any workers show signs of poisoning, turn off your generator immediately and get medical attention.

A generator is a great way to keep your worksite up and running in any type of weather. Make sure to avoid dangerous situations by applying these tips for maximum safety.

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