Following the recent stormy weather HSENI has issues advice for farmers and outdoor workers to follow if they are planning to be working during or immediately after a spell of stormy weather. As with all works carried out on the farm it is essential that it is completed with safety in mind.
The main hazards are falls from height, flying debris and falling objects. An assessment of the effects of storm conditions on the workplace is required to identify hazards and take the necessary precautions.
The following areas require specific attention:
- extreme care must be taken when working with wind fallen / damaged trees, they may be unstable with the risk of crushing for people involved in cutting and removing them.
- avoid all work at height, do not consider going on any roof or near exposed edges, winds in excess of 23mph (Force 5) will affect a person’s balance and increase the chance of falls.
- stop work in places with a risk of falling objects or collapse of temporary structures, partially built structures, unsupported gable peaks etc.
- remove or secure loose materials which may be blown and become a hazard.
- access onto fragile roofs (corrugated iron, asbestos, PVC skylights etc.) damaged during the storm should only be undertaken with appropriate equipment to prevent falls through the roof.
- if electrical power lines have been blown down or if there are any exposed electrical conductors, these must not be approached and NIE should be contacted on 03457 643643.
- check scaffolding is secured and adequately tied and if required provide additional ties or supports, following the storm the scaffolding needs to be inspected by a competent person before being brought back into use.
- cranes should be inspected for damage prior to being brought back into service in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual.
- cranes should be placed in a safe out of service condition, in particular Luffing jib cranes must be in free slew with the jib at a safe out of service radius, the manufacturer’s manual should be consulted for advice on taking the crane out of service in high winds.
- after the storm excavations and partially completed structures should be inspected for strength and stability.
While it is not possible to detail every work-related activity requiring attention as a result of storm damage, it is essential that employers should take account of the storm and the impact it may have had on work activities.
There may be significant damage following the storm, therefore it is essential that all clean up and repair works are both suitably assessed and carried out by competent persons.
In general, it is not possible to detail every work related activity, but all employers should assess their work activities and take appropriate precautions.
For further information please see HSENI’s website or contact the HSENI helpline on 0800 0320 121.