Environmental Conditions Create Unsafe Working Situations

A woodcutter died instantly when a large tree was uprooted, knocked down by a strong gust of wind, and struck him on the head.

Eight workers received electrical shocks when a steel structure they were working on was hit by lightning. A worker drowned while attempting to drive across a stream bed that had risen significantly because of heavy overnight rainfall.

Other environmental conditions can cause a variety of serious incidents as well, such as heavy snowfall that hides underlying hazards or causes branches to spring up unexpectedly, and wind that topples towers and causes sudden movement of suspended loads.

The environment can add considerable hazards to workplaces and it is important to be alert and aware of these dangers.

Employers should have policies to deal with any environmental conditions that can negatively impact the health and safety of employees. Procedures for reporting and addressing these situations should also be created, if they don’t already exist.

Employees must be alert to dangerous environmental conditions and advise their supervisors of their concerns. If action is not taken, or if workers think that environmental conditons are creating dangerous working situations, then they can apply their right to refuse this work.

July 2009

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