Among the many lessons that Hurricane Harvey and Irma have taught us is the impact that inclement weather can have on operations. Wind and rain not only slow down the pace of construction projects but they can put workers in serious danger. Of course, a hurricane doesn’t have to be present for weather to be a factor. Intense heat in southern states like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana should also be considered. Intense cold in northern states should be considered as well.
What Does OSHA Say About Handling Inclement Weather
While OSHA doesn’t have any specific guidelines with regards to weather-related hazards, they do address weather in their personal protective equipment standards. Employers are required to provide protective equipment, including eyewear and items that cover the face, and training to employees working with environmental hazards. Protective barriers are required for these employees as well. If you have any questions about OSHA policy and compliance, contact an OSHA attorney at Cotney Construction Law.
Protecting Your Workers
Protecting your employees is a priority, even in great weather conditions. However, every part of the country has a season where the weather is not ideal. In these cases, measures must be put in place to ensure worker safety. Here are a few tips for accomplishing that:
- Create an emergency plan: What will you do if workers are caught in a violent thunderstorm? What if a tornado touches down? Before your project starts, determine what actions workers will take to protect themselves if sudden inclement weather occurs. Part of this plan should include what to do if lightning is in the area.
- Know the signs: When extreme heat or cold is a factor, it’s critical to know if these conditions are impacting your workers. If the worker is flush, sweating heavily, or is suffering from a headache, make sure that they receive immediate medical care. This may be a sign of a heat-related illness. Signs of hypothermia include shivering and slurred speech.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.