Hurricanes present a significant risk to the general public, jobsites, and workers. When a hurricane is approaching, project managers need to be prepared well in advance. In this two-part article, Clearwater contractor lawyers are discussing several of the tasks that project managers need to perform in order to protect their jobsite when a hurricane warning goes into effect.
Before the Hurricane Arrives
As we discussed in the first part, contractors and project managers need to perform a risk assessment of their jobsite when the threat of a hurricane is looming. Once the jobsite is closely evaluated, the following tasks should be performed:
- Communicate: The first step in any hurricane protection plan is to stay in close contact with everyone else working on the project. Workers need to be released with plenty of time to take care of their own needs. They also need to be notified of any updates, including when they are expected to return to the jobsite. Some construction firms split the hurricane preparation tasks between a team that prepares the site for a hurricane and a team involved in the cleanup efforts after the storm passes.
- Move Materials: Any object that can become a projectile needs to be safely stored or removed from the jobsite. This includes materials, tools, scraps, or waste in dumpsters. It’s important to have an inventory checklist for these items. In the event that materials need to remain on-site, they need to be stored in an elevated area to avoid flood waters.
- Create Barricades: Any objects that will remain on-site (equipment or vehicles) need to be safely staged to reduce hurricane-force winds. They also need to be anchored and barricaded. Contractors should consider covering any valuable equipment with tarps and weighing down any remaining objects that could be displaced by strong winds. Sandbags and other barricades should be placed at the perimeter of the jobsite to reduce the chances of flooding occurring.
Many of the recommended safety precautions greatly differ depending on the work being performed on a jobsite. In some cases, the framework of the jobsite will need to be protected while in others exposed piping and trenches will need to be covered. Regardless of what tasks need to be accomplished, it’s important to start any of these tasks well before the threat of a hurricane becomes a reality.
After the Hurricane Passes
It’s important that site managers make certain that workers are aware that they should not return to the jobsite until instructed to do so. Even a tropical storm can result in flooding, compromised infrastructure, downed power lines, and other health and safety concerns. During a safety assessment, an inspection crew can evaluate the site and determine any potential risks that are present. Depending on the strength of the storm, you may need to handle concerns like loose debris, standing water, or toxic substances floating through the workplace. After careful inspection and assurance that the jobsite is safe for workers to return, project managers can notify workers of when they can resume their tasks.
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.