Strong winds can occur any time of the year. To prevent unnecessary workplace injuries and tragedies, it’s important that construction workers know the appropriate measures to take to ensure their safety and that of others on the work site.
Working at heights is especially risky in high winds because the lack of shelter exposes workers to stronger gusts that can throw the worker off balance. The further the distance to the ground, the greater the likelihood that a fall will be fatal.
When working above the ground, unsupported structures can collapse. High winds can pick up sparks from fires or blow tools, loose materials and debris around, endangering workers as well as bystanders and pedestrians.
The following guidelines can help ensure the safety of those on your work site.
- Monitor weather conditions continuously. Do not schedule work at elevations on days where high winds are forecast.
- Support partially built structures regardless of the weather conditions and make sure walls are adequately braced.
- Secure scaffolding and other temporary structures so they cannot be blown over.
- Secure traffic control devices so they don’t blow over.
- Keep a clean work site. Don’t leave cones, signage and other loose materials laying around and unsecured. A gust of wind could pick up a scrap of material and send it flying.
- Wear eye protection to keep dust, debris and other foreign particles from blowing into the eyes.
- Make sure that your hard hat is securely fastened and cannot be blown off your head.
- Use extreme caution when handling large signs and stop/slop paddles, as these can act as a sail.
- Use taglines when hoisting loads with large flat surfaces.
- Cease all crane operations until wind speeds return to acceptable levels.
Weather is a major factor when determining when a task can or cannot be done on a construction site. When high winds are going to be present, plan accordingly. There will be some tasks you will need to avoid all together, and others that can be done if extra safeguards are put into place.