Summer in North Carolina is unquestionably when companies often complete their largest construction projects. Every summer, many buildings get remodeled or built from the ground up. However, thanks, in part, to mild winter weather conditions, many companies continue to build and work on residential and commercial properties in North Carolina regardless of the weather.
The precipitation and storm conditions that may roll in during the less favorable seasons may not be as dangerous as blizzard conditions and, arguably, may be less of a risk than severe heat, which can quickly become dangerous for workers and persist for weeks. However, the wet weather that often accompanies the cooler seasons can create its own set of risks for construction employee injuries.
Rain increases the risk of slipping or equipment losing traction
The single biggest risk of death for construction workers in the United States is the potential for a fall. When you have to work on surfaces that are wet and slippery, the potential risk goes up. Even with non-slip soles, you could lose traction and fall during work. The only way to avoid these risks is to ensure that all workers at any height during wet or slippery weather conditions have restraints such as harnesses in place that will prevent them from falling if they slip.
Of course, people aren’t the only thing that can slip and fall during wet weather conditions. Equipment, supplies and machinery can also slip, meaning that they may pose a hazard to workers nearby. Falling supplies or equipment could land on someone. Workers attempting to stop slipping machinery could also wind up being pulled down, which means they fall and get injured as a result.
Properly restraining workers, equipment and machinery, even if the weather is clear, can reduce the risk of wet weather and winds moving people or equipment and endangering workers, since weather can change quickly.
If there is lightning, you shouldn’t be outside working
With heavy rains comes the potential for lightning. Electrical activity and clouds can affect people miles away from the origin storm. If any workers are outside, your employer should have a policy in place that protects you from potential lightning-related injuries. Your employer should cease outdoor construction, particularly for workers at greater heights.
Unfortunately, many people will continue working if their employer requires it, potentially leaving themselves at risk for severe injuries that will prevent them from continuing to work in the future.
Workers who get hurt during rain storms or thunderstorms at construction sites in North Carolina have rights under the law. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In situations that involve an employer putting workers at unnecessary risk, it may be possible to also take legal action against your employer if workers’ compensation doesn’t cover the financial impact of your injuries.