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Effects of Severe Weather in Construction

By August 20, 2014Uncategorized

There is one element in the construction business that we have no control over – the elements, the weather. However, we can control how the weather affects the safety of a project. The following can be used as a guide for discussion:

Wind:

  • Can blow dust in your eyes.
  • Can blow materials and people off scaffolds, roofs, or higher floors.
  • Can blow down poorly braced formwork or newly framed walls.
  • Can cause trees and power lines to fall into work areas.

Lightning:

  • Electrical storms can often occur without any rain or warning and are very dangerous.
  • Be sure to stay away from any type of tall object during an electrical storm.
  • If working around iron or rebar and lightning is seen or thunder heard, clear the area immediately.
  • Get under cover, inside a building or vehicle when possible at the threat of lightning.
  • Lightning can cause fires threatening the safety of workers and others on the job.

Rain, Sleet, Ice, & Snow

  • All four are wet, some are cold, and all can cause slips, trips, and falls.
  • Snow, sleet and ice can cover floor openings and cause slips, trips, and falls.
  • Mud can result in pulled muscles or worse from straining or slipping.
  • All four can ruin exposed construction materials and tools.
  • All four increase the dangers of injury or fatality if the proper safety precautions are not taken.

Note that when water accumulates on a job site, it can increase the chances of electrocution.

Water, ice, and snow can affect trenches and excavations. A competent person should closely inspect all excavations to determine how the weather is affecting the trenches or excavations and take necessary steps to insure safe worker entry and egress.