Rain season for California has officially started and cooler, rainy days are coming! if California has another wet winter, you know what that means for active construction sites – more storm event monitoring! Are you up for the job? Here are a few tips to help you brush up on what needs to be done for rainy wet conditions.
PREPARING YOUR CONSTRUCTION SITE FOR RAIN
Property damage from rain can add both cost and time to a project. While it’s not possible to fully predict and react in a timely fashion to storms, a documented and practiced contingency plan can help contractors prepare for the unexpected. Protect your site and project timeline by evaluating site-specific risks, properly securing materials and equipment and anticipating alternate construction plans.
Preparation. With the materials around on construction sites, inclement weather can present a safety risk to employees. When you are alerted to rainy weather in the area, workers can place protective sheets on scaffolding and remove loose items such as tools. Items can be stored in areas that are protected from flooding. Also, structures should be tied down. These tasks can protect your site from project-delaying damage as well as injuries.
Response. A water damage response plan, including equipment, should be readily available to identify and arm resources with a swift-response guide to help address the water issue before it spreads.
Utilize a Weather Forecasting Service. Since weather can have a major impact on project schedules, it’s important to use a professional weather forecasting service that can predict when storms will arrive in the area. This service should be able to provide mobile alerts and satellite imagery so that contractors can receive up-to-date, detailed information about local weather. This way, materials can be protected and project schedules can be adjusted.
WORKING IN THE RAIN
Worker safety should be the top priority on job sites, regardless of the weather. It should come as no surprise, then, that OSHA has prepared a guide to prevent slips and falls caused by icy, wet conditions, as well as for the prevention of winter-related injuries due to cold stress, such as frostbite and hypothermia. When working in the rain, California OSHA recommends:
Waterproof Gear. Protective items such as raincoats, waterproof footwear and proper hand protection that features a strong, slip-proof grip are essential on rainy days. Rain also means that the weather is going to be cooler. Dressing in layers will help protect you from catching a chill or a cold, but be certain clothing fits properly so it does not interfere with movement.
Slippery When Wet. The slightest amount of rain can make walkways, roofs and scaffolding very slippery. Wear proper footwear with a deep tread to prevent slipping. There are slip resistant boots and footgear on the market, they won’t necessarily guarantee that you won’t fall, but they do reduce the risk greatly.
Lightning Strikes. During thunderstorms, you and your colleagues should be cautious of exposed steel structures and cranes which can become impressive lightning rods.
Live Wires. Wet weather increases the chances of dangerous live wires. You should always be cautious around live wires, but you should have heightened awareness and alert others to electrical cables that can become live during rainy days.
Cave-Ins. Wet weather can affect trench stability and are more prone to cave-ins. Most fatal cave-ins occur on small jobs of short duration such as service connections and excavations for drains and wells. Too often people think that these jobs are not hazardous enough to require safeguards against collapse. Unless the walls are solid rock, never enter a trench deeper than 4 feet if it is not properly sloped, shored, or protected by a trench box.
Move cautiously. Although the weather may make you inclined to work more quickly to get out of the rain, this is dangerous. Because rain causes slick surfaces, work more slowly and deliberately – particularly when climbing ladders.
Use the correct equipment. Do not use electrical tools and equipment that are not specifically rated for outdoor use when working in the rain. Select hand tools with textured, nonslip grip handles.
Ensure adequate vision. If you wear glasses or goggles, use anti-fog spray or wipes on them before going outside. Wear a hood or hat to keep rain out of your eyes. Because a hood narrows your range of vision, be sure to look both ways when wearing one. When working at night, make sure lighting is adequate and the lights used are rated for outdoor use.
Make sure you can be seen. Wear high-visibility clothing, especially in areas with vehicle traffic and heavy machinery. Do not wear rain gear or vests that have become dull or are no longer reflective.
Get Familiar with Your State’s OSHA Laws. Individual states can set OSHA safety laws that go above and beyond those set at the national level. Your company is beholden to the OSHA regulations set by your state. If you haven’t spoken with an OSHA representative lately, now is a good time to schedule an appointment. It is free and can provide a wealth of information to make sure your company is adhering to local regulations. Cal/OSHA – Safety & Health
Murow Development Consultants’ QSP / SWPPP Inspection and Reporting Service provides our clients with a “hands-off” reporting procedure. This relieves our clients’ compliance worries and confirms their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and Best Management Practices (BMP) are in appropriate configuration for any rain events or sudden state inspections. Our expertise in storm water management, and our in-house QSP’s allows our clients to focus their time on the project at hand.
To learn more about our Construction Management Services, please visit: https://murowdc.com/services/development/#construction-management