Those who may have worked in the southern part of the USA, know that a job site will shut down when rain is in the forecast. But in the Northwest, this would never happen as most construction projects are exposed to inclement weather for a good portion of the year. Unfortunately, this is one dynamic the construction business has no control over, however, we can control how the weather affects the safety of a project and you.
Getting to the job:
Traffic accidents are known to be the number one cause of serious injuries or death for workers during the normal work day. As the traffic congestion has increased so has likely hood of you being in a car accident before and during work. Add weather such as rain, freezing conditions to the mix, this only increases the chances of a vehicle accident. Drive defensively, without distractions, giving yourself enough distance between you and the other drivers around you.
On the job during inclement weather, these are the conditions that could certainly affect you;
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
Affect hoisting of material
If near tree’s that lose their leaves, they can accumulate and create slippery surfaces, on pavement/concrete, sidewalks or decks
Often electrical storms occur without any rain therefore are very dangerous.
Be sure to stay away from any type of tall object.
If working around iron or rebar and lighting is seen, you should clear the area.
Rain, Sleet, Ice and 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 more slips, trips and falls.
Mud can result in pulled muscles from straining.
All four (rain, sleet, ice and snow) can ruin or damage construction materials and tools.
Water, ice and snow can affect trenches and other excavations. A competent person must closely inspect all excavations to determine how the weather is affecting them.
Water, when it accumulates on a jobsite, increases the changes for electrocution, hidden dangers of holes that can accidently be stepped into.
A couple of other things to consider and think about...
What other weather elements can adversely affect the jobsite?
What is the site policy and practice when working in high areas where wind could become a problem, i.e. tie down equipment or material?
Who has the authority to shut down a job because of the danger of high winds or inclement weather?
What about getting to your job site, what is the expectation due to a weather event?
Remember: When dealing with the weather and the effects of it on a construction project, think how to minimize its adverse effects.
Safety is as simple as ABC…Always Be Careful.
Let’s be safe out there!