Snow at altitude
Rain and lightning
Rough seas (waterfront)
OSHA Focus Four Hazards – the four areas that cause the most injury and death in construction
- Struck by
- Caught between
How does weather affect the Focus Four:
- Falls – muddy conditions cause workers to slip off ladders and equipment, trench edges can fail and cause workers to fall in. Slips and trips can also cause injury, such as knee and shoulder sprains.
- Electrical – lightning causes electrocution hazard, standing water can be electrified by generators and electrical cords. Heavy rain can also cause power lines to arc to nearby structures.
- Struck by – workers can be hit by materials blown around by the wind, or struck by heavy equipment in poor visibility conditions like heavy rain. Material can fall into trenches and on top of workers.
- Caught between – very dry or very wet conditions can cause trenches to fail and trap workers. Ground can give way beneath machines, especially if there are voids or you are working near a bank of a stream.
What can you do to reduce the effects of weather? Here are some ways:
- Keep aware of the environment around you, it can change very quickly
- Be listening for alarms or warnings, such as civil defense sirens
- Know your evacuation plan, where to muster and ensure everyone is present
- Watch for signs of changing weather, especially lightning, take shelter if seen
- Wet vegetation that is very dry to reduce the chance of fire
- Get covered up, use sunblock and drink plenty of water
- Keep hot work such as welding isolated so you don’t create fires
- Have an extinguisher available during hot work
- Clean equipment and ladder rungs to remove mud
- Keep your work area neat, remove straps and other tripping hazards
- Keep electrical cords away from water and low lying areas that can be flooded
- Check trenches regularly for signs of weakness, especially after rain
- Use guardrails or fall protection for unprotected edges around trenches
- Remove standing water whenever possible to reduce mosquitos
- Avoid entering water that is brown or when there is an advisory issued
- Report unsafe conditions to your supervisor right away
- Don’t assume someone else already reported the problem