Weathering the Storm: Why Being Ready Means Being Safe

Over the last few months, we’ve seen a surge in extreme weather events – more frequent, less predictable, and increasingly dangerous. It’s absolutely crucial to prepare for these weather conditions, especially when it comes to workplaces.

Prepping for All Conditions

Emergency planning isn’t just a good idea—it’s essential. It helps minimize worker injuries, property damage, and ensures the right trained personnel have immediate access to resources when needed.

Each type of weather event has its own set of challenges and calls for unique emergency procedures. Emergency services may be unreachable, so the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends including all weather events in emergency plans for comprehensive workplace safety. Types of extreme weather events include:

  • Heavy rain causing flash floods
  • High winds above 70 km/h
  • Tornados
  • Heavy snowstorms and whiteout conditions
  • Forest, brush, and grass fires

The challenges during extreme weather events go beyond just the weather conditions. There are potential hazards related to how the weather affects our workplaces, machinery, essential services, and systems:

  • Fires and explosions
  • Poor air quality
  • Reduced visibility outdoors, poor driving conditions and road closures
  • Building collapse and structural failures
  • Spills and unintentional release of chemicals
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Loss of power, water supply, communication, and other utilities
  • Stranded at the office, a worksite or remote location

Vulnerable Jobs and Places

Certain jobs and work environments are more susceptible during extreme weather events. Construction sites, outdoor workspaces, drivers, and farmers face higher risks due to their daily exposure to the elements. Each profession requires a unique emergency plan tailored to their location and daily tasks:

  • Construction workers: Secure materials, reinforce structures, and provide appropriate protective gear, like hard hats, safety goggles, and harnesses.
  • Outdoor workers (Landscapers, Arborists, Farmers, Road workers): Schedule work during favorable weather when possible, provide shade and hydration stations in warmer weather and warmer stations during the winter, and ensure suitable protective clothing and gear.
  • Drivers: Regular vehicle maintenance, an emergency kit with essentials like blankets, food, water, a shovel, rope and a charged communication device.

Other recommended safety gear for any event: flashlight with extra batteries, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, knife, whistle to signal for help, N95 mask or respirator to filter contaminated air from dust, gas or smoke, lighter or matches, fire extinguisher, and backup cell phone battery or charging bank.

Gear Up for Safety

If you’re looking for reliable safety products to face any weather, Bunzl Safety has got you covered. From rainwear to harnesses, anchors and first aid kits, these products are designed to provide protection and resilience during challenging weather conditions, and can be the difference between life or death when unexpected weather strikes. Reach out to your local Bunzl Safety representative or contact us to stay safe and weather the storm, today!

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