Staying safe in windy weather
Several years ago, I worked in a high rise office block, which, due to its design, lead to a build up of extra strong winds around the building on otherwise quite calm days. On some days, pedestrians walking near to the building were blown into the busy road. Sadly on one particularly bad day, I witnessed a lorry blow over as it travelled past the building, killing a pedestrian, who was crushed to death.
Wind and gales are a serious issue for many business owners and premises managers. According to the Met Office between 1962 and 1995, 184 deaths were caused by building failures resulting from wind in the UK.
It is important that you make your premises and employees as safe as possible.
When a storm is forecast, make sure that loose objects such as ladders, scaffolding, garden furniture, or other items kept outside are secured.
Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the property. Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences. Delay any high risk outdoor work, such as work at height, until after the storm passes, and check all equipment before commencing work after the storm.
During the storm, stay indoors as much as possible. If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees. Keep well away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences as these are more prone to fail. Don’t go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress. If possible, enter and leave the premises through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you. Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.
Take extra care when driving on exposed routes, and delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible. Drive at a slower speed and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high sided vehicle. Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary.
After the storm, do not touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging. Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.
Remember, strong winds can kill. Be careful out there. Stay safe.