Storms can strike at any time, and if your construction site isn’t properly prepared, the storm can lead to major destruction. Creating a safety plan that outlines pre-storm, during-storm, and post-storm procedures will keep your worksite safe for all employees and ensure you’re able to quickly resume work and complete your project on time.
Below we will review the best ways to prepare your construction site for storms, and the types of storms you can expect at different times of the year.
How to Prepare Your Job Site
Ensure you’re prepared for intense weather to strike with the following four steps to job site storm preparedness.
1. Write a Safety Preparation Plan
Before a storm is even on the weather radar, you should have a storm preparation plan documented. This plan should include what to do before, during, and after a storm, as well as include what each employee is in charge of. We recommend making your plan as detailed as possible—it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
2. Keep an Eye on the Weather Forecast
While most construction workers and contractors do this already, it’s an essential step in preparing for a storm. Although you may already check the weather before you head into work, it’s important that you continue to check the forecast throughout the day – after all, the weather can change in an instant.
You might consider designating a single person to monitor any weather changes throughout the day, as opposed to having every crew member constantly on their phones. This ensures that the project continues on-track and that your worksite is prepared for any oncoming weather conditions.
3. Secure the Site
If there is a storm approaching, secure all site materials and hazardous chemicals to minimize any destruction the storm will cause. While it’s not possible to secure every loose material on the job site, you should secure or remove any items that strong winds can knock loose and throw around. This applies to both small items like tools and supplies, and larger items like dumpsters and equipment.
Just like you need to secure job site materials, if your site handles hazardous chemicals, you’ll need to tie them down or remove them from the site prior to the storm. You should also engage a third-party team to perform the proper cleanup if any hazardous chemicals are spilled during the storm.
Finally, you should attempt to secure the site structure to the best of your ability. This includes boarding up windows and holes to protect the structure’s interior from water damage. If flooding is a possibility, consider adding sandbags around the perimeter of the construction site.
4. Plan for Debris Removal
No matter how well you secure the job site, if there is a bad storm, chances are there will still be supplies and materials strewn about. Even if your job site materials stay in place, you might need to contend with water removal.
If you expect significant amounts of water to impact your site, you can try placing pumps prior to the storm so water removal can begin as soon as its needed. Depending on the significance of the water and debris that need to be removed, you might need to hire a third-party cleanup crew; the sooner you can engage a cleanup crew, the faster you can get back to work.
Seasonal Storms for Each Season
The time of year plays a significant role in the types of storms you’re likely to encounter. Knowledge of these seasonal changes and the storms they’re likely to bring can assist you in preparing for the appropriate storm variety.
Spring: Thunderstorms, Tornados, and Hail Storms
Although most people associate spring with flowers and foliage growth, those familiar with weather trends know that spring weather can bring severe thunderstorms, tornados, and even hail storms. Those on construction sites need to be prepared for the extreme wind, lightning, and hail damage, and plan appropriately to minimize their impact.
The most common summer storms are thunderstorms. The hot temperatures and high-humidity make thunderstorms a common occurrence in summer months. In fact, some areas of the country have a dedicated “monsoon season” because the thunderstorms are so frequent. As we mentioned above, thunderstorms are accompanied by high winds and lightning, so ensure your site is appropriately prepared to combat these elements during the summer months.
Hurricanes are the most prevalent fall storm and depending on the area of the country you’re in, they can often be the most destructive. Not only will you have to contend with high winds and intense rain during hurricane season, but the flooding and falling objects that result from hurricanes can severely damage the job site and hinder the following work progress because time will need to be dedicated to cleanup.
As to be expected, the most common winter storms are snowstorms. While these certainly don’t affect all areas of the country, cold weather and freezing temperatures can be found nationwide. Not only does that make an uncomfortable working environment, but your site needs to be prepared to deal with frozen ground and materials which can make the worksite slippery.
Learn More About Preparing for Severe Weather
Although this is a brief introduction to preparing your site for severe weather, if you’re looking for more detailed information, consider taking our Construction Safety Course to ensure you’re prepared for all types of intense weather conditions. Sign up for it today!