Hurricane Michael was one of the strongest hurricanes to strike the United States in the last fifty years. When a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane makes landfall, it can devastate entire cities and put the citizens’ lives in peril. In this four-part series, a Florida construction lawyer is discussing the necessary steps a contractor needs to follow to ensure that their construction site is safe before and after a storm arrives.
In sections one, two, and three, we educated you on developing a safety plan, purchasing the right gear to prepare, and the steps that need to be taken to secure your site. In this final section, we will discuss assessing the aftermath of a hurricane.
Using Good Judgment
No two hurricanes are the same; however, safety precautions must always be performed in the same way. With that being said, deciding whether or not to evacuate the area or find some shelter from the storm can be a tough judgment call. Some projects will need a hurricane ride out team to be present to immediately help in the aftermath of a hurricane. Regardless, once a storm arrives, every worker needs to stay inside.
After the Storm
When contractors receive notice that they can return to the job site, the first step is to assess the damage. Two of the major concerns when entering the job site are standing water and poor infrastructure. Here are some tasks that will need to be accomplished after the storm:
- Remove Wreckage: Contractors will need to shift their focus from building to potentially tearing down or removing wasted materials. You can rent dumpsters and assemble a team to remove materials that were destroyed in the storm.
- Remove Water: Standing water from flooding is not only a serious safety risk, it can also lead to water damage impacting a structural foundation of a project and its soil. Ideally, a pump system should be installed before the storm arrives, but after the storm, any standing water will need to be removed by an emergency vacuum tanker truck. Dehumidifiers and fans can also be utilized to dry areas.
- Workforce: Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane can be a challenging process as many team members may have evacuated town with their families. Establishing a workforce and getting back to work can take weeks or longer depending on the severity of the storm. It’s important to have everyone’s contact information beforehand so you can check in on them after the storm. From here, you can coordinate a return to work schedule for your workforce.
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.