As you know, sudden gusts of wind can cause unexpected incidents. Tell your crew that if high winds are expected, they should be on the lookout for dust, building material, equipment or debris that can be picked up or knocked over by the wind.
Tag lines should be used when hoisting loads to provide control during the lift. When picking up large sections of plywood, dry wall, or similar material; the crew should be aware that this material can act as a sail. Extra precautions should be used when carrying this material as large flat surfaces pose a greater danger during high winds.
A 20-30 mph wind can pick up a piece of scrap material and carry it as far out as the height from which it started. For instance, a piece from a 20 foot scaffold can hit a person standing 20 feet away while the same piece coming off a high rise building may travel almost a full city block.
Scraps of plywood and sheet metal cause the most trouble, but a strong wind can pick up a loose 2×10 deck plank and drop it off a scaffold.
Material/personnel hoists should not be operated in winds exceeding 25 miles per hour. Your crew should also check the manufacturer’s instructions before operating cranes in high wind situations. Take into consideration that winds at these speeds can start to over balance an aerial lift, or begin to shift a load on a crane.
The wind can also whip up clouds of dust and reduce visibility. Drivers and operators of heavy equipment should slow down accordingly. Provisions should be made for dust control. Think of upgrading your PPE. Instead of safety glasses, you may want to use goggles.
Finally, high winds can pick up sparks from open fires and cause whipping tarpaulins to overturn heaters. The resulting fires have caused many severe burn injuries and damage to buildings under construction.