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The calm before and after the storm

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The calm before and after the storm

What?

Numerous storms hit the UK with record high wind speeds last week. Storm Eunice in particular, is said to have hit speeds of up to 122mph. Whilst some places have faired well, others have experienced more damage in the aftermath. With a few preparation tips and things to consider in the aftermath, we’ve got everything covered to help you keep calm before and after the storms.

Stormy seas against lighthouse and sea guards

Who is at risk?

Some industries and workers will face greater risk from windstorms, such as:

  • Construction
  • Transport
  • Electrical
  • Agriculture
  • Those who work at height
  • Groundworkers and service engineers
  • Lone workers
  • Drivers

 

Storm Hazards & Risks

High winds can present many unsuspecting hazards and risks.

These can vary between industries; however, they can also harm members of the public.

The primary hazards to keep in mind are falling from a height, flying debris or falling objects.

Trees

Damaged trees can become unstable in high winds, leading to risks of crushing injures, cuts, lacerations from falling trees. The same risks are present in activities involving the removal process.

Roofs

Loose tiles can become dislodged and fall, leading to crushing injuries, cuts and lacerations.

Electrics

Electric power lines can become loose and fall, potentially causing crushing injuries and electrocution.

Construction

Buildings under construction

Buildings under construction often have tarpaulin that can come loose due to high winds. This can cause risks to those driving or public members in the area. Additionally, partially completed structures may not be as stable, and can be damaged or blown away.

Cranes

Cranes are at high risk of damage due to their height. Damage to cranes can lead to falling parts or structural damage. Falling items could lead to fatal injury, crushing injuries, cuts and lacerations.

Scaffolding

Scaffolding that has become dislodged may affect its structural integrity. If poles or joints fall, there is risk of impalement, crushing injuries, cuts and lacerations. In addition, property damage.

Supply Merchant yards

Supply merchant yards often stock large quantities of products. The product type influences the level of risk. Steelyards and warehouses with racking are high-risk, mainly when the racking is outside.

Older buildings and structures

Older standings weaken over time, leading to instability and increased risk of collapsing structures, crushing injuries, cuts, and lacerations.

Loose items

Strong winds can lift loose items around residential, agricultural or construction areas. Items such as wheely bins, trampolines and lighter farming equipment. When lifted by strong winds, loose items can cause property damage, damages to services, and injury to people.

Driving

Strong wind gusts can cause cars to veer outside of their line of travel. High-profile and HGV’s are at a higher risk of overturning or swerving out of their lane.

Loose roof tiles due to storm damage

Preparations before the storm

Below are some pre-storm checks you can use to minimise risk from storm damage:

  • Check with weather reports for the warnings in place in your area.
  • For oversized items which cannot be moved, check they are tied down or secure with sufficient coverings.
  • For smaller, more transportable items, secure indoors if possible.
  • Remove any dead, overhanging or damaged trees and tall shrubs near buildings and structures.
  • Remove items from balconies.
  • Check rooves for visual signs of loose tiles.
  • Secure windows.
  • Secure bins and waste areas

 

After the storm

In the aftermath of the storm, it’s best to assess the extent f the damage before tackling it. From there, you can plan what tasks are a priority.

Some tips for repairs:

  • For items that have moved, consider two-person lifts or using lifting aids.
  • Where structural or electrical damage has occurred, instruct competent persons or specialists to undertake repairs.
  • If moving trees or shrubs, cut down into smaller pieces before transporting, wear suitable clothing, gloves and other necessary PPE.
  • Where possible, avoid working from height.

Fallen tree in the road due to storms.

Resources

Need a risk assessment for adverse weather conditions? Get in touch today!

For weather information, check out Met Office.

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