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Written by
on 10 February 2015


Don’t Blow the Roof Off! Stay Safe With High Winds

Health and safety in RoofingTalk about blowing the roof off the joint.

A Gateshead firm found itself in hot water when it did exactly that!

Not intentionally, of course. With the sudden onslaught of winds and storms, the roof of a temporary extension at a power station – weighing a not-so-light 2 tonnes – came detached and landed on the other side of the road!

Although conditions are pretty extreme at the moment, that doesn’t mean you’re at the mercy of the weather gods! Here’s how you can stay safe when the wind kicks up.

UFOs about? Keep eyes safe

No, we’re not talking about green invaders from outer space.

High winds can mean there is all sorts of flying debris in the air – and you should always wear eye protection to keep from harm.

It’s not just the big bits that you can see flying around though – windy weather can also mean there will be more fine particles of dust in the air, so make sure you have appropriate respiratory protection, too.

Secure all structures

Don’t assume that just because something is heavy it won’t get shifted by the wind.

If a 2 tonne metal roof can go sailing 50 metres across the road, anything can.

Sheeting should be properly secured and fastened, and structures should be regularly checked to ensure they are properly tied down.

If there is a risk of something coming loose it should be dismantled entirely – the last thing you want is for it to go flying!

Don’t stand near big stacks

This should be a no brainer.

Standing next to a big pile of material – when it’s howling with wind?

There’s only one way it’s going to end, and it’s not a nice one.

If you do have to keep structures or materials piled up, keep them small and low to avoid them getting blown around easily.

Have extra protection for heights

Working at height can be risky at the best of times – but even more so when you factor high force winds into the mix.

Always ensure that there is a handrail in place, especially if you are working on roof areas. Make sure you’re not too close to trees or power lines.

The best precaution is prevention – so if you can avoid working at height, it really is better to leave it.

Need to drive?

If you’re driving any kind of vehicle in high winds, take extra care and precautions.

Slow right down and leave plenty of safe distance – not only is your vehicle at risk, but others could get blown across sideways too!

Your takeaway points

So here’s what you should keep in mind when it gets gusty!

  • watch out for flying debris and wear eye protection
  • keep temporary and outdoor structures secure
  • don’t form big piles of things that can be blown over
  • Avoid working at height – and have extra protection if you have to have to do it
  • Leave extra distance when driving!

Does wind affect you where you are? Let us know!

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.