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Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and even lightning storms all have something in common. When they hit the wrong location, they can cause costly damage and put lives at risk. In 2017 alone, hurricanes did more than $265 billion in damage in the U.S. and widespread wildfires took an additional $18 billion toll. Buildings that are under construction are at high risk in these instances. For construction professionals, understanding this risk is critical.
Construction sites are at higher risk than regular commercial properties during disaster times for a number of reasons. First, the standard measures that would protect a building from a disaster, such as earthquake-proof structures or internal fire reduction systems, are not yet in place. This means the damage could be far more extensive to a building under construction than for the same building after the construction is complete.
The risk at a construction site increases because of the equipment, tools, and materials on site. These can turn into projectiles in wind storms and can be the cause of fires. Also, damage to equipment or materials can increase the costs of a disaster significantly. Construction crews need to know how to spot these risks so they can take measures to reduce them.
Every construction site needs to identify the risks that are prevalent in their geographic area,whether they be hurricanes on the coasts or tornadoes in Tornado Alley. They then need to create an emergency plan to help reduce the risk associated with these threats. Finally, construction site managers need to ensure that their team members are properly trained as to what needs to happen in a disaster. With these three steps, the overall cost of a natural disaster will be much lower, and everyone on the site and around it will be protected.
This guide is intended to be a comprehensive resource to help construction industry pros and concerned citizens who live near construction sites know what to do to protect themselves and their investments in a natural disaster. By taking the precautions in this guide, a construction site will be well prepared for any dangers that nature can throw at it.
Hurricane Preparedness for Construction Sites
When you live near a coast, being prepared for hurricanes is essential. Hurricanes cause widespread damage through the storm path, and hurricane damage estimates sit at around $28 billion per year. After a hurricane, while companies try to recover, the cost of building materials can increase, and this can make it difficult to rebuild and get back on track. Large equipment can be damaged or completely destroyed due to the high winds and debris of a hurricane.
If you live near a construction site, your risk becomes higher. Large equipment that sits in the path of a hurricane or the supplies for the building project can turn into projectiles, causing serious damage to the surrounding homes and properties. If the construction crew does not take the right measures to tie down equipment and supplies, your home can be at risk.
If you live in a hurricane zone and notice construction around you, or if you work at a construction site that’s in the path of a hurricane, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your investment. Here are some ideas to help you prepare for a hurricane even with construction equipment around you.
Understanding the Risk of Hurricanes and Construction Sites
First, make sure you understand the risks that construction sites face when hurricanes hit. Here are some things to consider:
Necessary Safety Precautions for Construction Sites
Construction sites that are located on coastlines need to know what precautions to take to protect people and property when a hurricane hits. Here are some strategies that will provide critical protection.
What Can a Concerned Citizen Do?
If you live or work near a construction site, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure that your neighbor is doing everything possible to keep themselves and you safe. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
What Should You Do After a Hurricane?
If your construction site is hit by a hurricane, there are some steps you can take to secure the property and start the restoration process:
Lightning Preparedness and Construction Sites
Lightning strikes can cause damage to construction equipment and construction sites. While most finished buildings have a plan for lightning, those plans may not be in place at the outset of the project. Many construction managers forget about the realities of lightning, but every year there are 20-25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the U.S. That’s a significant number, and the tall equipment on a construction site is at high risk.
In order to protect a construction site and the workers on it, construction crews need to understand the risks of lightning strikes and what can be done to reduce those risks. Here’s a closer look at what precautions need to be taken to protect construction sites and personnel from lightning.
Understanding the Risks of Lightning on Construction Sites
Lightning is a risk to everyone who is outdoors, but those working in construction face a slightly higher risk than the general population. Here are some things you need to understand:
What to Do on a Construction Site During a Lightning Storm
If you are on a construction site and see a lightning storm approaching, here is what you need to do:
What Can a Concerned Citizen Do?
If you live or work near a construction site and are concerned about safety during lightning events, here are some tips.
What to Do if a Lightning Strike Occurs on a Construction Site
Earthquake Preparedness and Construction Sites
Hurricanes and lightning storms often have some warning, but earthquakes do not. Every day, between 50 and 80 earthquakes occur around the globe. Thankfully most of these are either under the water or are mild enough not to cause problems, but each year there are around 100 earthquakes around the globe strong enough to cause damage. While seismologists do try to predict coming earthquakes, they cannot predict them accurately enough for construction sites to plan ahead. Also, earthquakes do not always happen on fault lines, which adds to the frustration of trying to plan around them.
That said, construction sites in earthquake-prone areas can take some measures to protect their work and their crews from unnecessary injury or damage during and after an earthquake. Here are some tips to help ensure the site is as safe as possible.
Understanding Risks to Construction Sites from Earthquakes
Earthquakes have four main risks you need to be aware of. These are:
Preparing a Construction Site for an Earthquake
Since earthquakes come without warning, it’s best to be prepared at all times. Here are some precautionary steps that construction sites can take.
What Can a Concerned Citizen Do?
What to Do After an Earthquake Hits
If an earthquake hits your construction site, here’s what you need to do afterward:
Construction Safety and Additional Types of Disasters
While earthquakes, hurricanes, and lightning are the most obvious types of disasters that can hurt construction companies, many other risks can occur. Fire, tornadoes, and flooding can all also cause serious problems and costly bills for construction companies. While it’s impossible to know the future, there are steps that construction sites need to take to ensure they are prepared for potential risks that could hit their areas.
As a risk, fire is fairly universal. Fires can occur in any part of the country, any time in the year. Construction crews need to understand what to do to avoid this risk and protect themselves. Construction sites are particularly vulnerable because of the large amount of hot work and electrical equipment on them, combined with the incomplete fire detection and prevention systems. Between 2010 and 2014, 3,760 fires in structures under construction and 2,570 fires in structures under major renovation were reported, leading to 9 civilian deaths, 116 civilian industries and $280 million in direct property damage.
Each year, an average of 1,253 tornadoes occur in the United States. With wind speeds over 200 mph, these are significant storms that can cause brutal damage to a construction site. Tornadoes can occur anywhere in the country, but they are more likely to occur in “Tornado Alley.” This is the band of land between the Rocky and the Appalachian Mountains where tornadoes are the most common. Tornadoes rarely have sufficient warning to warrant significant changes to a job site, so it’s critical to be prepared at all times.
Flooding can occur after other types of natural disasters, or it can occur due to problems like dams or levies that break. Flooding can even occur when water rises exceptionally high due to snow melting or heavy rains. Sometimes the rains occur away from the area that floods, but the runoff water flows into a lower area.
Here is a closer look at each of these risks and what can be done to protect construction workers, equipment, and sites.
Fire and Construction Sites
To protect a construction site from fire, here is what you need to know and do.
Tornadoes and Construction Sites
Tornadoes cause extensive damage wherever they touch down. They can pop up seemingly out of nowhere when a rainstorm turns violent, and they can devastate a construction site that happens to be in their path. Here are some tips for dealing with the risk of tornadoes or the aftermath of one.
Floods and Construction Sites
Finally, floods are a risk that construction sites need to be aware of and protect against. Often, floods do come with a little warning, except in the event of a levy or dam breaking, but they can cause delays and costly damage to the construction site. Here are some tips to help protect the site and those around it.
Keeping Construction Sites, Safe Requires Planning and Vigilance
A natural disaster, no matter how small, can cause millions of dollars of damage to a construction site, hurting both the construction crew and the company paying for their services. To prevent this, construction crews need to understand the risks and how to avoid them, so they can move forward confidently knowing they will be prepared when a disaster strikes. Those who live near construction sites also need to know what these risks involve so they can take measures to protect themselves and their properties from potential risks the site poses. With this guide, you can be safer around construction sites, even when natural disasters strike.
Article Source: https://www.bigrentz.com/how-to-guides/disaster-safety-construction-sites
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