How to Plan For and Limit Severe Weather Effects

Sever weather can heavily impact outdoor jobsWHY TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER?

Although we have no control over rain, snow, sleet, wind, lightning or sunshine; we can control what happens on our job & at home as a result of the elements. Some of the biggest obstacles we encounter are caused by rain, wind and lightning. Wind probably causes the most accidents; lightning can be deadly; rain makes mud and runoff compliance problems. All affect driving and commuting.


Do not let the wind catch you off guard. Do not just think of tornadoes or hurricanes, but of everyday winds and unexpected gusts. Wind can pick up anything and sail it away. So when it’s windy, securely tie or weight down supplies and materials. A gust can pick up a sheet of plywood from the top of the pile and carry it several hundred feet. Wind can blow your vehicle or equipment door closed in a second before you move your hand.


Every so often we read about someone being struck by lightning. This usually results in a fatal outcome.

We all like to keep things moving until we are rained out. But when lightning is around, it is safer to take shelter early and avoid the scramble. Often an electrical storm occurs without rain and most often lightning strikes come before the heavy rain. If you are working outside in the open, on top of steel framework, water tower, on the roof, or near equipment the safest thing to do is to seek shelter when you see lightning.

You will be reasonably safe from lightning inside the structure, particularly when equipped with grounding rods. You will also be fairly safe inside an automobile, heavy equipment or truck. Never take shelter under an isolated tree or where you’re outside in contact with a tractor, crane, or other metallic equipment. If you get caught out in the open, stay as low as you can and seek shelter. If you count less than 10 “Mississippi” between the thunder and the lightning flash, take shelter indoors immediately until 30 minutes after the storm passes.

Hail can be dangerous at any sizeRAIN & HAIL CAN RUIN A JOB

Rain is good for the lawn and the farmer but it plays havoc with a construction job. Once dry roads and sites can turn into a gigantic mud pie. Rain can ruin building materials and supplies and generally make things downright messy. Steel gets slippery, equipment gets stuck, and we all get wet.

Hail can be dangerous depending on the size. Pieces as small as ½ inch have seriously injured persons and collect in storm drains blocking flow flooding streets. Seek shelter for your vehicle and yourself at an overpass, gas station or in your garage when hail falls. Damage to roofs and vehicles by hail cost millions of dollars each year. We can eliminate slipping hazards by sweeping or pumping water out of low areas used as access and passageways.


By planning to secure and cover equipment, work in progress, materials, tools, supplies and ourselves; we do not give inclement weather a chance to do as much damage as it could. Have a plan for inclement weather and discuss it with your crew and family.

Discuss a plan with your family and workmates on what to do if inclement weather creates an issue. Power outage, lost production, localized flooding & inundation plus slippery muddy surfaces should all be considered. Establishing a rendezvous point and having tarps, pumps, unblocked storm drain and house rain gutters are all part of planning for wet weather.

Superintendents, foreman, and managers are to monitor the weather forecast. It is recommended to use a weather APP that will warn of pending extreme weather.

Inclement weather is powerful and unpredictable. Plan for the worst & work for the best.

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