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Construction work sites and severe weather: Lessons learned

July 11, 2018

Wildfires and hurricanes create challenges for work sites in Canada and across North America. Plan risk-mitigation actions to take before, during and after an event.


British Columbia wildfires in 2017 destroyed over 1.2 million hectares at a cost of $127 million in insured damage, and the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta proved the costliest in Canadian history with over $3.5 billion in estimated insured losses. Wildfires also devastated parts of the western U.S. in 2017, while Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ranked among the top-five costliest U.S. hurricanes on record.

The potential impact of severe weather events like these on work sites is something engineering and construction firms need to focus on, especially in light of the information gleaned from these recent natural disasters.

In a recent article for FMI Quarterly, Zurich’s Jennifer Fortunato and Forrest Ropp provide an overview on risk-management strategies for construction businesses with projects in areas vulnerable to extreme weather, addressing vital steps including planning for:

  • Specific weather-related risks of the region
  • Work site vulnerabilities
  • Equipment protection
  • Evacuation procedures, if needed
  • Requirements upon returning to a work site after a disaster

Read the article