Posted by Weatherflow ● October, 2022
Workplace Safety: Advantages of having a weather station on the job site
Worker safety should be top priority for employers, and most businesses are already preparing for typical workplace hazards by using protective equipment meant to prevent risks such as slipping, falling, and pinching. But with the recent soaring numbers of deaths on the job due to extreme heat events, the federal and state governments across the country are now working harder than ever to encourage preparation for weather related hazards as well.
Those working outside or within the agriculture, construction, and factory industries are some of the most at risk for weather-related injuries. Monitoring a real time weather station on the jobsite is one of the most important improvements that can be made to protect employees from these inevitable dangers.
WORKER SAFETY REGULATIONS
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has weather guidelines that require a business to maintain a safe working environment through extreme heat, cold, or natural hazards. Whether on a job site located outside, in a factory, or a retail building, it is the responsibility of the employer to adhere to OSHA safety guidelines and make the necessary preparations to protect their employees. Staying prepared and watching the weather forecast is one of the best strategies laid out in OSHA’s compliance plans.
Failure to adhere to these OSHA guidelines can endanger employees, resulting in massive fines, temporary shutdowns, and workforce displacement. Individual states might also have similar added consequences.
DANGERS ON THE JOB
There are several weather-related risks that face individuals throughout every workplace across the country, including extreme heat, extreme cold, and severe weather events.
- Extreme Heat. High temperatures, especially coupled with high humidity, create tremendously dangerous working conditions that lead to thousands of heatstroke cases and numerous deaths each year.
- Extreme Cold. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death. Working during harsh winter conditions can also lead to serious injury due to slipping, overexertion, or complications during travel.
- Severe Weather. OSHA requires businesses to prepare for storms, high winds, and lightning that will make outdoor work and travel dangerous and suggests ceasing all nonemergency work during these events.
CLIMATE CHANGE INCREASING THE RISKS
As our climate continually changes, we will continue to endure massive natural disasters and prolonged periods of unsafe weather conditions such as drought, heat waves, wildfires, and flash floods. In 2021, the U.S. experienced record-breaking natural disasters, including 18 events that cost the country over one billion dollars and destroyed countless lives (1). With 2022 already producing record-breaking heat waves, storms, and natural disasters, we all must prepare for these tremendously powerful events to become more common.
BENEFITS OF ON-SITE WEATHER MONITORING
There are many benefits to installing an on-site weather monitoring system, including improved worker safety, cost-reduction through increased job efficiency, and increased worker satisfaction.
- Lightning Detection – OSHA states that over 300 people are struck by lightning each year, with an average of 50 of those cases leading to death (2). A weather monitoring system that detects lightning strikes, such as the TempestOne Weather System, will alert you of any lightning strike within a 25-mile radius, allowing you and your team to seek shelter.
- WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) – Advanced weather monitoring systems allow employers to monitor site conditions using the WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) scale which considers conditions such as temperature, humidity, and wind speed to determine the potential for heat stress in direct sunlight (3). This advanced technology will help implement protocols that will increase worker safety and satisfaction.
- Temperature – Extreme hot and cold temperatures that can produce dangerous working conditions can easily be alerted to when using a weather monitoring system. Most can at least sense wind chills, humidity, and pressure changes.
- Wind – On-site weather monitoring systems can also predict and alert of high wind events that have the potential to create dangerous working conditions. High winds can cause trees and branches to fall, which can lead to dangerous downed powerlines. Wind can also wreak havoc on construction sites, causing complications with large cranes, scaffolding, and machinery, while creating potential falling hazards from unsecured structures, materials, and tools.
- Management – Having an on-site weather monitoring system will increase the efficiency of the daily planning and scheduling that is maintained by business managers, which allows more time to be focused on worker safety and satisfaction.
- Worker Satisfaction – Recent studies found that many people think their employers could do more to protect them against weather-related hazards. Being prepared by maintaining focus on forecasts, current weather conditions, and following protocols will increase worker safety and, therefore, overall worker satisfaction, which will ultimately help to maintain an effective workforce.
- Verification of Site Weather Conditions – Many industries require the documentation of site conditions for insurance or regulatory purposes. On-site weather monitoring systems can quickly and easily create reports from real-time data that can be used for documentation purposes.
With record-breaking natural events occurring more frequently in recent years, we all must prepare to endure massive natural disasters and prolonged periods of unsafe weather conditions such as drought, heat waves, wildfires, and flash floods that will lead to unsafe working conditions for millions of people. Installing an advanced on-site weather monitoring system, such as the TempestOne Weather System, is one of the most important improvements that can be made to protect employees from inevitable natural dangers.
Whether outside or in a building, it is the responsibility of the employer to adhere to OSHA guidelines and make the necessary preparations to protect their employees from conditions like extreme heat or cold, high winds, or severe weather. Businesses now have the advantage of collecting data using on-site weather monitoring systems that can predict weather conditions and alert of any potential threats like lightning strikes or incoming storms. These systems allow businesses to increase work efficiency and worker safety, helping them to maintain a happy and successful working environment.