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Inclement Weather Emergencies on Job Sites

Inclement weather, such as thunderstorms, sleet storms and blizzards, can delay construction jobs and put workers at risk.

Inclement WeatherEven when a workday begins without the appearance of a threatening cloud, in some areas of the country and during certain times of the year, weather conditions can change quickly and dramatically.

Some contractors designate an employee as their emergency response coordinator (ERC). In addition to other duties, this individual is responsible for monitoring weather conditions, and notifying superintendents when inclement weather is approaching so that they can warn their workers.

In particular, the ERC determines evacuation routes, assembly areas, and the location of severe weather shelters, and posts the information on a visible and accessible job site map. The ERC also makes workers aware of emergency signals, accounts for all workers when they are assembled in shelters or an onsite assembly area, and is the liaison with local emergency responders.

The ERC and job site workers should pay attention to changing weather conditions. Signs include towering thunderheads, darkening skies, or a sudden increase in wind. When stormy weather starts, people working in exposed areas and on equipment should immediately discontinue work and seek shelter until the storm has passed.

Protective measures during lightning storms include seeking shelter; avoiding standing above the surrounding landscape, such as standing on a hill; staying away from open water, metal equipment, railroad tracks, wire fences and metal pipes; and positioning people several yards apart.

If workers know that a storm is approaching, they should relocate to the nearest shelter; avoid large trees, poles and towers; stay out of ravines to avoid flash floods; and avoid using telephones during an electrical storm.

The 30-30 rule is to seek refuge when thunder sounds 30 seconds after a lightning flash, and not to resume activity for 30 minutes after the last thunderclap.

High winds are also dangerous causing toppling trees and airborne, loose debris. To avoid preventable injuries, construction site activity should be halted until the wind dies down. In winter months, proper clothing should be worn in case winds hit suddenly as wind chill can rapidly decrease body temperature and increase chances of hypothermia.

Neff Rental personnel also monitor weather changes for their personal and branch safety. If they are visiting your job site when a storm strikes, they may seek shelter until it passes. We care about our employees just as you care about yours. For more information about Neff Rental, contact Neff Rental or call us at 888-709-6333. We are ready to assist you with your equipment needs.

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