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Weather is a threat to worker safety: Be cautious

If you work in construction, then you are already aware that the weather has an impact on construction site safety. Yes, there are many hazards that you may face on the job, but weather is one that is hard to control.

Being aware of the potential weather conditions on any day is your employer's responsibility. They should not allow you to work in conditions that are unsafe for the work you're performing. For example, if you're working in water, it's highly unlikely that it would be safe to continue working during a lightning storm.

How does weather affect construction-site safety?

The weather that can affect safety includes:

  • Temperature
  • Heavy rain
  • Lightning
  • Fog
  • Strong Winds
  • Snow
  • Sleet
  • Hail

...and others. Of these, strong winds are among the most dangerous, because they can cause materials to blow loose, ladders to shift and people to lose their footing. The higher up a job is, the more likely it is to be affected by and susceptible to high winds.

If high winds are a risk in your workplace, it's important to use protection such as harnesses to prevent falls and tethering to prevent items or materials from dropping.

Another serious threat to worker safety is the temperature. In New York, it doesn't always get threateningly hot, but the fall and winter can become extremely cold. With the cold comes the risk of high wind chills, snow, sleet and other conditions that can make working outside miserable and dangerous.

On top of that, extreme temperatures can make it so that machinery struggles to operate. This could mean that a failsafe can't be triggered when needed, posing an additional threat to worker safety.

To avoid injury from heat or cold, make sure to wear protective equipment, to take regular breaks and to check the weather before you work out in the elements.

Fog is a third type of weather that should be discussed, since it significantly reduces visibility. If you are working on the roads or around traffic, this could be particularly dangerous, since drivers may not see you or a work site until it's too late to stop. Wear your high-visibility vest and reflective items, so that drivers have a better chance of seeing you and the work area.

In any case, if you are hurt in these conditions, you may be able to pursue workers' compensation. Weather is a hazard, so be cautious when you're working in the elements.

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The Law Offices of Mark E. Weinberger P.C.
50 Merrick Road
Suite 100
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Phone: 516-441-0282
Fax: 516-829-0102
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