#102 Severe Weather

Here in California, we rarely get damaging tornadoes or coastal hurricanes. We do, however, get heavy rains from time to time, which can result in flooding and extremely dangerous conditions. Strong gusting winds and the lightning associated with thunderstorms can be particularly dangerous. There is nowhere more likely than on a construction jobsite to be a source of very real danger during severe weather patterns.

Rainfall can be very heavy at times in California. If roofing structures are damaged, always remember to take care when emergency repairs are needed. There is even more reason to be cautious about fall protection on such occasions. Don’t be a hero; don’t take risks that just aren’t worth it. Water damage can be very costly and inconvenient, but pale into all comparison against accidents, injuries, and broken limbs.

The odds of being struck by lightning are quite low (about 1 in 600,000), but they go up considerably if you are outdoors during a storm. If you are caught outside, stay away from high trees, wire fences, metal pipes, and metal sheds. Lower crane booms and avoid touching metal objects. In particular, stay away from fallen power lines.

There have been several instances of roofers being blown from elevations while carrying roofing material and sheeting. Debris, in general, commonly flies off rooftops during high winds; this is a good time to be wearing a hard hat at all times.

Due to heavy rains, construction sites are prone to run offs of building waste and hazardous substances onto the streets and drain/sewage systems. Housekeeping practices that prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants to storm water from construction activities should be encouraged.