Hurricane on Construction Jobsite

Normally considered a warm weather phenomenon, hurricanes do occur in the colder months, and experts have now declared we can expect more hurricanes to take place during winter.

Just as people batten down the hatches and secure their homes in preparation of a hurricane, so should construction jobsites. After all, they have plenty of loose items lying around, such as piles of lumber and even expensive pieces of equipment, which can end up as deadly flying objects in the event of a storm.

With present-day tracking of the path of a hurricane, it is much easier to make preparations well in advance. Teams at jobsites should be given a proper briefing by supervisors or foremen on how to secure equipment and the materials needed to do so. More importantly, everyone should be aware of where these materials have been kept, so they are prepared even in the very last minute.

Below, we have listed 9 precautions to take to protect lives, save expensive equipment and minimize possibilities of damage during a hurricane event:

# 1: Be Ready With An Action Plan

Create an itemized plan of action ahead of time, so it can be implemented in the event of a storm without confusion or delay.

This is especially important with renovation projects, when construction work is going on to expand or upgrade an existing facility, and the scope of damage is exponentially greater.

# 2: Prepare a Ride-Out Team

Ride-out teams stay at the jobsite throughout the storm to tackle any unforeseen events. In case you need trained personnel onsite, make sure all safety precautions have been explored and implemented in advance.

# 3: Be Aware of Tower Crane Risks

Cranes are not easy to move out of a jobsite without plans, schedule and disassembly. Be familiar with the wind ratings for the cranes to make sure they do not sustain damage or cause unexpected accidents when the winds pick up. Lower the booms, raise the hook and allow tower cranes to weather-vane so they can better withstand the storm.

# 4: Get Rid of Accumulated Debris

Clear the jobsite of any accumulated debris, like scrap metal heaps. Empty dumpsters. If material cannot be moved off site, make sure they are properly stabilized so they don’t pose any hazards.

# 5: Take Flooding Into Account

Floods are a distinct possibility during a storm surge and heavy rainfall in coastal areas. Rising water levels can carry away toxic agents like gasoline, paint and a variety of chemicals unless they have been stored above ground in advance.

# 6: Keep These Materials Handy

Materials Needed To Prepare For A Hurricane Include:

  • Concrete Anchors
  • Duct tape
  • Garbage bags
  • Generators
  • Ground anchors
  • Fuel
  • Miscellaneous hardware and fasteners
  • Netting
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Plywood
  • Pumps
  • Rope
  • Sandbags
  • Shoring and bracing
  • Water
  • Wire

While some of these would be present at the jobsite anyway for other uses, the above list will help you secure equipment and raw materials on the worksite.

# 7: Protect Important Documentations

Secure important work and personal documents in a safe, dry place. Also, a list of contact numbers such as for emergency services and those of employees present at the site should be safely stored in an easy-to-reach area.

# 8: Have an Evacuation Plan

Human lives are the primary concern at any construction jobsite. To avoid risks of injury to crew members, work should be safely shut down and workers sent home before the hurricane is in full swing.

# 9: Keep Tabs on Weather Updates

TV, radio and the internet should be closely monitored when a hurricane is likely to make landfall. The Weather Channel and Accuweather are perhaps the best sources of information, along with local and national news channels. The frequent updates will allow for better preparedness. If there are power outage issues, it would be wise to have invested in a battery-powered radio, to ensure updates are not missed.