Severe storms and intense weather conditions can be dangerous and disastrous for unprepared construction sites, impacting budgets, productivity, schedules, and, most importantly, safety. As the weather becomes more unpredictable these days, it is crucial to think ahead and be prepared for any severe weather conditions. Establishing protocols and preparatory plans can enhance safety operations and protect your employees while minimizing delays and disruptions. Learn how to maintain safe conditions and timely operations by following these best practices for extreme weather conditions on construction sites.
Create a Plan That Focuses on These Critical Questions:
- What type of extreme weather is common for this location?
- What are the imminent risks?
- What does historical data tell us about previous weather-related incidents on construction sites?
- What work activities will be happening during the current or upcoming season that could be risky?
- What materials are vulnerable to the weather conditions?
- How could extreme weather affect the workforce?
- How will you plan for potential power outages, flooding, and limited accessibility?
- What emergency response protocols do we have or need in place?
- What should be considered during post-storm recovery?
Check Long and Short-range Weather Radar Frequently
Being prepared for extreme weather starts with keeping a close eye on the forecast. It’s important for industry leaders and site managers to create a consistent habit of monitoring – not just the long-range forecast – but also checking the short-term radar as well. Weather radars can offer a more accurate picture of what you can expect so you can make any necessary adjustments and preparations before the weather arrives. This is especially important to do in locations that often experience rapid fluctuations in climate, which is quite common during our Canadian winter season.
Jobsite Preparation During the Summer
Heatstroke is a serious threat to employees during the summer season. As the temperature rises, it’s imperative to provide shaded air-conditioned zones where employees can take frequent breaks – and encourage them to stay hydrated. If a worker suffers a heat stroke, they could become disoriented and end up collapsing, putting themselves in danger as well as other employees on the worksite.
During extreme summer storms, monitor the forecast for any flood warnings and prepare your space by installing and ensuring drainage pumps are working and ready. Also, have a designated spot on your construction site where any equipment or materials can be moved to shelter during extreme rain events. If high wind gusts are in the forecast, make sure any loose items that could blow away are tied down and secured. This applies to piles of soil as well. Always have a safe area where workers can take shelter safely away from any metal objects or equipment if there is lighting. If there is no sheltered place for workers to go, instruct them to stay inside a vehicle until the storm has passed.
Jobsite Preparation in the Winter
Snow, ice, and freezing rain can wreak havoc on construction sites, requiring plenty of planning to mitigate and avoid serious delays and safety concerns. If workers become wet during their work activities, this can quickly escalate into hypothermia. Inform your employees on the proper protocols and provide any necessary items to help them stay dry and warm. Frequent breaks should be encouraged to help warm up, especially as temperatures start to dip well below freezing. Train workers to recognize the warning signs of cold injuries so they can act accordingly and ensure they are warmed up. Supply portable heaters, and keep pathways and roadways salted to prevent slip and fall accidents. When it comes to equipment, make sure it is winterized by switching to antifreeze in diesel engines, changing the oil, and having necessary equipment ready to clear away snow and ice.
At Brawn Construction, we ensure every worksite adheres to safety protocols and is well equipped and ready to take on extreme weather conditions. If you’re looking for general contracting services that you can depend on in Ottawa for your commercial space, contact us today!