Apart from making a working day miserable, certain weather conditions can hamper progress on a construction site, or worse still, bring a much greater risk of accident or injury to operations. Here are five situations where the impact of the elements shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Torrential rain can impede visibility for those operating machinery or driving vehicles on site, and lead to boggy ground which could present a slip or trip hazard.
Objects on roads, steep drops – these will be very difficult to see in foggy conditions until the last moment. This makes fog especially dangerous for drivers and those in their path, as reaction times will be greatly impeded.
While the blazing sunshine may seem like the preferable option when working outside, high temperatures and the strong summer sunshine can lead to sunstroke and dehydration. Workers on site might be included to remove layers including high visibility jackets and hard hats in a bid to cool off, and on the hottest days, there may even be a risk of fire.
On the opposite end of the thermometer spectrum, cold weather can decrease dexterity, causing workers to drop items or lose grip on support.
Machinery can be affected by both extreme highs and lows. If this includes a safety function failure, the consequences could be catastrophic.
The risks are many in the event of strong winds. There’s a greater chance of falling from a height as people are blown to the side, and loose material could be dislodged entirely only to strike someone passing by. There’s also likely to be a lot of dust or sand on a construction site, which in strong winds this can be whipped up into the air and into workers’ eyes or parts of machinery.
Metal frames or scaffolding reaching up into the sky and lofty cranes are at real risk of being hit by lightning. And it’s not just tall constructions and plants that are in danger. Any building work that’s taking place in an isolated area where fewer other metal elements are present could also be in trouble.
There will be times when the weather means it’s simply not safe to work on site, but even exercising caution at times when operations are going ahead in spite of the weather is not enough to guarantee the safety of workers.