Working at Heights When It’s Windy

December 15 2019
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The fall is here and so are unfavorable weather conditions. The wind is one of the most dangerous weather elements that can affect workers at heights. When it’s windy, height access equipment may not be stable. Meanwhile, wind gusts could cause workers to lose their footing and fall to the ground unless proper safety equipment is used. Dust and debris flying around during windy weather could obscure the workers’ vision thus leading to mistakes and safety problems. During gale winds, large debris may move and cause serious injuries to workers at heights or kick them off their feet and send flying to the ground. When it’s windy outside, other adverse weather conditions are likely to be present as well. For example, wind gusts could be part of a storm, which comes together with rain. Rain causes surfaces to become slippery thus increasing the risk of slip and fall accidents. Hail and lightning could also pose a danger to workers at heights. That’s why it’s recommended to stop working when adverse weather conditions are in the forecast. However, not all contractors are ready to stop the project when it’s windy out. Especially, when deadlines are approaching. Below advice could help you keep your employees safe when the wind is in the forecast.

What To Do Before Work Commencement

If you are planning outdoor height access work, you have to monitor weather conditions regularly. All your employees must be ready to stop working or relocate in case dangerous weather arrives. When you check the forecast, remember that the average wind speed may not factor gusts in. So make sure to find a respectable source with detailed wind forecast. Find out what wind speeds the height access equipment you are using can withstand. Secure all loose materials on site to prevent injuries from flying debris. Provide sufficient critical personal protection equipment to your employees.

What To Do When Work Commences

If you see winds in the forecast, give reasonable advice to your employees so they avoid heights and stay away from partially constructed buildings, which aren’t safely secured. Instruct workers to seek shelter in case gusts become too strong. When working at heights while winds are a possibility, fall-prevention systems must be used at all times. Employees should have adequate eye protection in case dust and debris start flying. After the windy weather is over, it’s important to check the integrity of structures thoroughly to ensure wind hasn’t affected it.

WHAT IS IPAF

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
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