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Don’t be a stick in the mud – How to deal with a soggy site safely

With all the recent heavy rainfall we have experienced in the UK, this extreme weather does have an effect on the safe operation of a busy building site. Each building site is, of course, unique so some measures may not apply, but here are some simple tools we use to maintain productivity and safety on our sites during these wet and cold days.

Plan ahead – this can range from schedule of work and deliveries, to staff welfare and safety. If we start with the workers, it is good practice to ensure they have enough PPE ranging from providing layers for those cold days, to water proof clothing for when it’s wet. They will also need plenty of it as they will most likely need to change throughout their day. It is a good idea to have a PPE store stocked and ready for when the bad weather strikes and to ensure that the welfare area is kept warm, dry and clear of any mud.

Another major factor to take into account is the upkeep of the site. All sites fight a constant battle to keep clean and tidy and it is even more important when the rain starts as slips, trips and falls increase ten-fold in the wet. Remember to maintain these standards in preparation for those wet days.

Lastly with your planning, it is always good to take a look at the forecast before booking in deliveries of stock; not only to consider it being stored outside in the elements but also the ability for a delivery truck to gain access to the site if it is very wet and boggy. Many suppliers are happy to work with you on this as they don’t want their trucks getting stuck on site anymore then you do.

React fast – sometimes, even with all the planning, we can still get caught out by the unpredictable UK weather.  This can result in the main walkways and working areas becoming very wet and soggy overnight. This poses multiple issues as the workforce will struggle to get around site and the ground will be very wet for machinery. To alleviate this, put some gravel/hardcore or sand down to help soak up the additional water and reinstate the ground. Make sure you act fast in getting this delivered so you don’t slow down productivity too much.

Communicate with your contractors – as most sites have sub-contractors working on them, ensure you stay in contact with the main contractor so that you are aware in what conditions they can and cannot work in. You will need to be on the ball to make any amendments to work schedules for contractors following each other onto site.

Batten down the hatches – there’s nothing worse than making progress on a site for the rain to come and spoil everything. If your buildings are not yet watertight, be ready to make them so. This comes as part of your planning and reacting but ensure you have enough wood and sheeting to cover up doors and windows to keep the rain at bay.

Finally, here are our Finedale ‘Quick Tips’

1. Always try to jet wash down tyres on machinery leaving site so you don’t spread your dirt over the roads and paths.

2. Have those hot drinks and bacon butties at the ready, just because everyone loves a bacon butty to kick start a wet day!

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