Far too many contractors are not prepared for severe and inclement weather on the job. Especially in the South along the coasts, hurricanes can wreak havoc to job sites several times a year. If you are not prepared, you are asking for losses to the tune of anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, loss and liability. Make sure that you are ready the next time a hurricane roars its way across your job site.
The Action Plan
Every contractor should have an action plan in place to reduce the dangers of hurricane season. Driving rain, high winds, lightning and other hazards are rampant during these months and it is vital to know how to handle it.
This plan should designate a specific staff member who is responsible to keep an eye on the weather reports, a method of communicating these reports to workers and management, routes for evacuating the site, head count procedures, gathering areas and procedures for locking down equipment as well as shutting down the site. Regular safety meetings should be held to review and update these procedures.
A hurricane forms over water, and then moves toward land. Just about the only nice thing about these weather disasters is that they tend not to catch you off guard. You will have plenty of warning before the hurricane hits — to the tune of several days. The hazards presented by hurricanes include:
- High, damaging winds
- Deluges of rainfall that can cause severe flooding
- High waves that pose a danger to life and property
- Drowning from flooding or waves
- Severe damage to utilities, vehicles, structures and roads
- Flying debris that can be deadly
- Sudden surges in storms
It is vital to take the proper preparatory and safety actions against this type of severe weather event. First, be sure you are covered with flood insurance, equipment insurance and general liability insurance. Remember that with a hurricane you’ll have several days to prepare for the storm’s arrival and put your plan of action into play. Take this time to get an early start and be very thorough in your precautions and safety plan implementation.
Actions to Take
There are several standard possible actions that you should take when the hurricane rolls in. First, do not remain near the shore. Get your people and equipment as far from the shoreline as humanly possible. Pack up your equipment, lock it down and remove it to a safe area that is preferably built to withstand the gale-force winds that will soon hit. Any booms, cranes, aerial lifts and similar equipment should be lowered and removed. These items can form deadly projectiles if caught in high winds.
If an evacuation order comes down, don’t question and don’t ignore. Get out of the area immediately. Do not ever try to return to the area until authorities issue an all clear and give permission for people to come back. Even after the hurricane passes, unstable structures and standing or flowing waters can pose a danger.
When all is said and done, your solid insurance policy should hopefully cover any damages you suffer. If you need to check your policy or upgrade it for better cover, we can help. Contact us for a quote today.