SafeWork NSW recently issued a safety alert after the Bureau of Meteorology forecast strong and gale force winds for parts of NSW.
The regulator advised construction companies to proactively manage the risks caused by high winds as they can cause death and destruction.
The alert reminded managers, supervisors and workers of the risks associated with high or strong gusting winds in the building and construction industry and the actions required to ensure those risks are eliminated or minimised.
“High or strong gusting winds are often associated with very low-pressure systems, thunderstorms, squalls, willy-willies, mini cyclones and cyclones,” the alert said.
WorkSafe Victoria also issued a safety warning which urged employers to ensure their work sites are secured as potentially damaging winds moved across the state.
A severe weather warning was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, with peak gusts of around 100km/h possible over western and central Victoria before extending to parts of Gippsland and the state’s north-east.
Loose objects on sites need to be removed from exposed areas or suitably secured to prevent them from blowing away, said Worksafe Victoria’s acting director, construction program Tony Cockerell.
“Buildings under construction, temporary fencing, roof sheets, scaffold planks and unsecured tools can become dangerous, airborne objects in high winds if not secured properly,” Cockerell said.
Winds at low elevations are expected to ease slightly for a period this afternoon before increasing again overnight.
Cockerell said it is, therefore, critical employers ensure work sites are properly inspected to reduce the risks associated with high winds before workers head home.
“Where there is a risk of objects being blown around, there is a risk that workers and the general public will be harmed,” he said.
The SafeWork NSW safety alert said site managers should make adequate preparations to deal with the high winds or strong gusty winds in their workplace: