Working in High Wind Conditions

Occupational Health and Safety Training Ontario

Working in High Wind Conditions

June 6, 2024

Working in high wind conditions can present challenges and risks that require careful preparation and safe execution. Whether you work in construction, landscaping or in any outdoor profession, knowing the risks and understanding how to work in high winds conditions is important for safety and productivity. 

According to The Canadian Centre for Occupational Heath and Safety (‘CCOHS’), Environment and Climate Change Canada may issue a wind warning when conditions reach 70km/h or more, and /or gusts up to 90 km/h or more. At winds between 60 and 70 km/h, it is likely a worker will have difficulty with balance and walking against the wind. Here are some tips to optimize your safety when working in high wind conditions.

Tip 1: Assess the Situation

Before you start working, it is important to assess how severe and threatening the wind can be on you and on your tasks. To assess the wind, you can look on the weather map which can be found on any smart device such as phones and computers.

Tip 2: Secure Loose Items

High winds can dislodge materials, turning them into dangerous projectiles that can potentially be blown by the wind. Materials can include tools, equipment, and debris so it is important to make sure that they are safely put away and secured in order to prevent injury or hazards.

Tip 3: Use Proper Equipment

If you find yourself working in windy conditions, having the appropriate tools and machinery can make your work safer. This can include heavier machines and tools so that they do not get blown by the wind. It is also important to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, work boots and safety glasses to protect yourself from any tools or debris that may be blown by the high winds.

Tip 4: Fasten Structures

If you are working with loose structures such as scaffolding and pop up tents, it is important to make sure they are properly secured so no possible hazards or injuries occur.

Tip 5: Modify Work

Modify your work in accordance with the wind. This can include avoiding working at heights when the wind is strong and modifying tasks and schedules based on the when the wind is strong or when it is not.

Tip 6: Know When to Stop

If winds are extreme, sometimes the best thing you can do is stop all forms of work for the day or until wind conditions improve. It is better to delay work than to put yourself and others in danger. Remember, workers have the right to refuse unsafe work.

Working in high winds requires careful planning, preparation and most importantly safety. By following the tips above you can minimize risks and hazards and ensure a safe work environment. Remember to communicate with your co workers and peers to identify hazards. Also, remember to plan in advance to ensure you have minimized the risks and to make sure everyone is safe. Stay safe out there!