High winds are known to regularly occur in broad regions of Nevada. The presence of high winds can potentially place outdoor workers at risk of serious physical injury or death. Examples of such hazards include, but are not limited to:
- Unsecured building materials striking workers.
- Workers blown from an upper level to a lower level.
- Collapses of structures onto workers.
- Tools and equipment striking or falling on workers.
Duties for Employers
In general, wind speeds are highly variable depending on the location, altitude, and season. Employers are expected to monitor working conditions at any location where their employees are performing work, to identify hazards that are causing or are likely to cause harm to their employees, and to implement effective methods to control those hazards.
Recommendations for Businesses
Businesses can take proactive steps to mitigate the effects of high winds and meet their general duty to protect their employees. When increased wind speeds are forecasted or observed, employers should consider the following:
- Monitor wind speeds routinely throughout the shift by utilizing a weather service such as the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov, or other services such as Windy at www.windy.com.
- Provide training regarding the hazards of high wind speeds and encourage employees to report issues related to wind to their supervisor.
- Assess if additional controls are needed to maintain safe work practices such as, but not limited to:
- Brace or tie down otherwise unsecured building materials.
- Utilize personal protective equipment such as personal fall arrest systems.
- Implement job modifications such as assigning workers different tasks for the day as needed.
- Evaluate existing regulatory requirements such as those listed on page 1 and 2 of this document for compliance.
- When wind levels rise to the level of exposing workers to hazards, employers should consider postponing non-emergency work until wind conditions reduce to safer levels.
- Establish clear procedures for when work stoppage will occur as a result of hazardous wind conditions and inform workers of those procedures.
SCATS is here to help.
SCATS is focused on keeping Nevadans safe and healthy while on the job. SCATS offers resources for employers and employees alike, from training to consultation to safety program review. High winds are a recognized hazard that should be addressed in each business’s Written Workplace Safety Program (WWSP). SCATS can review and make recommendations on best practices and implementation of an employer’s high wind protocols. If your business has questions or needs onsite training or consultation, please submit a consultation request.