Portland is no stranger to rainfall. Although Portland stays drier than many major cities during the North American Monsoon (NAM), which lasts from late June through September, it experiences regular bouts of rain during the rainy season that stretches from October through March. As a contractor, managing project sites during the rainy season never gets less challenging. Rainfall will always present a hazard to the safety of your workers and the quality of your project.
Fortunately, there are many ways for contractors to mitigate the threats posed by rain, even in a place like Portland that experiences some form of precipitation over 140 days per year. In this two-part series, a Portland construction attorney will detail various ways contractors can manage project sites during the rainy season. Proper project site management can help you reduce the number of workplace injuries transpiring on your project site, reduce the chance of construction defects, and help you avoid potential legal issues.
Form a Plan
Rainfall never makes construction any easier, which means it’s imperative that contractors have a solid plan in place to contend with unpredictable weather. Preparation and planning are vital to any project, and this is doubly so during the rainy season. Ensure that your team is prepared to break down supplies and equipment for safe storage, develop a sensible workflow that allows your team to adjust the project site as needed, and make certain that your project site leaders are able to communicate freely to keep workers safe.
During the building process, a contractor’s attention will need to be spread across countless variables to ensure proper project management. Of the utmost concern is worker safety. One slip, trip, or fall could lead to unforeseen consequences of epic proportions. Your worker could end up with a severe or fatal injury, and the resulting workers’ compensation claim isn’t going to help your bottom line. Therefore, despite everything happening throughout the project timeline, the safety of your workers should always be placed first. This argument is both ethical and logical. Ethically, it’s up to you as the employer to create a safe workplace that follows all relevant laws to ensure that your workers aren’t put in unnecessarily dangerous situations. Logically, you can keep costs down and meet your deadline with a fully healthy workforce.
During the rainy season, there’s an increased risk of slips and falls. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes falls as the most common source of construction-related fatalities, which is why it is one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four.” In Portland, roofs, walkways, roads, and floors are commonly slick or slippery from rain. The wind chill that accompanies this rainy weather can also present a threat to the safety of workers. All workers should be required to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), trained to deal with electrical equipment in wet weather, equipped with suitable tools and equipment, and informed of the proper protocols for suspending work during a storm.
To learn more about managing your project sites during the rainy season, read part two.
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.