One of the most significant challenges in a construction job is dealing with New York’s unpredictable and often harsh weather conditions. Bad weather impacts project timelines and can also jeopardize personal safety.
Construction workers can suffer injuries when their employers require them to work in hazardous conditions.
Rain, sleet or snow can turn construction sites into treacherous zones. Wet surfaces become slippery, increasing the risk of workers losing their footing and suffering injuries. Staying upright becomes a daily battle as they navigate scaffolding, ladders and uneven terrain.
Diminished sightlines due to heavy rain, fog or snow make it challenging for equipment operators to maneuver, increasing the risk of accidents. Poor visibility also affects communication among workers, potentially leading to misunderstandings or accidents.
Wind and rain can dislodge materials or tools from heights, turning them into dangerous projectiles. A gust of wind or a rain-soaked rope can send heavy objects plummeting, endangering workers below.
Working in cold, wet conditions is not only uncomfortable but can also lead to cold stress. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures can cause frostbite, hypothermia and reduced dexterity, making workers more susceptible to accidents.
Thunderstorms are a real threat to workers, as they can cause severe injuries and even fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control, lightning causes 6 to 15 deaths per year in New York. Construction sites with tall structures or metal equipment are especially vulnerable.
Bad weather can also lead to the following long-term health problems:
- Respiratory issues
- Musculoskeletal disorders
These chronic illnesses affect workers’ well-being and their ability to make a living.
Employers have a responsibility to prioritize worker safety. They can help prevent injuries due to inclement weather by providing adequate training and personal protective equipment, and by monitoring the weather for hazardous conditions.