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:
- 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.
- 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.