Storm Callum: Your 7-point storm repairs safety checklist

With high winds and heavy rain expected throughout the day, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has put together a storm repairs checklist so that you can make your farm right safely.

The impact of Storm Callum is likely to be less dramatic on farms compared to Storm Ophelia last autumn. However, there may still be risks for those working outside.

This time around, the Republic of Ireland is expected to be worst hit by wind damage while South Wales still has an Amber Weather Warning in place for heavy rain.

Yellow Weather Warnings also remain in place over Northern Ireland and the west coast of Scotland and England.

During and after storms, the main hazards are falls from height, flying debris or falling objects so below are a few of the most important tips to keep yourself and your employees safe.

The first step in making any repair during such weather should always be to start by assessing the risk of storm conditions on work activities, identifying the hazards and taking necessary precautions.

Safety advice

The following areas require specific attention:

  • Extreme care must be taken when working with wind fallen or damaged trees, they may be unstable with the risk of crushing for people involved in cutting and removing them;
  • Avoid all work at height – do not consider going on any roof or near exposed edges, winds of 23mph (Force 5) or above will affect a person’s balance and increase the chance of falls;
  • Stop work in places with a risk of falling objects or collapse of temporary structures, partially-built structures, unsupported gable peaks etc;
  • Remove or secure loose materials – if it blows off it could become a hazard;
  • After the storm, excavations and partially completed structures should be inspected for strength and stability;
  • Access onto fragile roofs (corrugated iron, asbestos, PVC skylights, etc.) damaged during the storm should only be undertaken with appropriate equipment to prevent falls through the roof;
  • Check scaffolding is secured and adequately tied – and if required provide additional ties or supports.

While it is not possible to detail every work-related activity requiring attention as a result of storm damage, it is essential that employers themselves should take account of the storm and the impact it may have on carrying out work.

There may be significant damage following storms, therefore, it is essential that all cleanup and repair works are both suitably assessed and carried out by competent persons.

Key contacts

If electrical power lines have been blown down or if there are any exposed electrical conductors, these must not be approached and NIE (Northern Ireland Electricity) should be contacted on: 03457-643-643.

For further storm safety information please see HSENI’s website or contact the HSENI helpline on: 0800-0320-121.