How to Work Safely in Windy Conditions

Strong winds pose a hazard any time of the year – but construction sites are especially vulnerable. Just last week, the National Weather Service and Department of Buildings issued a wind advisory in New York City, reminding builders, contractors, crane operators, and property owners to secure their construction sites, buildings, and equipment. To prevent workplace injuries, it’s important that workers are aware of the appropriate measures to take to ensure their safety as well as the safety of others on a jobsite.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Check National Weather Service Reports

Prior to beginning the day, you and your team should take the time to check the daily National Weather Service report to be aware of any potential weather hazards. Supervisors and workers are expected to monitor weather conditions throughout the day to be prepared for any high winds, which OSHA defines as exceeding 40 miles per hour  or 30 miles per hour if the work entails material handling. OSHA recommends employers reschedule jobs taking place during especially hazardous weather conditions.

Be Mindful of Scaffolding

It is important that any scaffolding or temporary structures are secured when high winds are present to avoid them from being blown over and causing injuries to workers and pedestrians.   To ensure safety, OSHA prohibits work on or from scaffolds during storms or high winds. OSHA also requires a competent person to determine if it is safe for employees to work on a scaffold. If it is considered safe to be on a scaffold, workers must be protected by a personal fall arrest system.

Suspend Crane Operations

When high winds are present, it’s best to cease any and all crane operations to prevent a dangerous situation. The Department of Buildings recommends workers should suspend crane operations and secure any crane equipment when wind speeds exceed 30 miles per hour. By suspending the use of cranes, you’re avoiding losing materials, breaking valuable equipment, and – most importantly – life-threatening injuries.

Make Sure Eye Protection and Hard Hats Are Worn

During high winds, debris, dust, and foreign particles can blow into your eyes, presenting a health risk. Wearing eye protection is a guaranteed way to ensure your safety. It’s also important to make sure your hard hat is securely fastened and can’t be easily blown away and leave you exposed to the elements.

In the event of any hazardous weather condition, make sure to always consult with your team, and if a dangerous situation presents itself, always call 911.