Lightning Safety Guidelines

Storms are always a big threat to employees working outdoors.  They bring about harsh winds that may cause falling trees, downed power lines, swaying of scaffolds and erosions in trenches.

But there’s another hazard that comes with storms and causes serious fatalities.   This is no other than lightning, one of the serious killers of outdoor workers. While anyone can be a victim of this natural phenomenon, it’s a mistake to think that it cannot be avoided altogether.

Here are some guidelines in preventing this electrifying hazard:

  • Always monitor weather conditions, especially when going outdoors.  Be prepared to shut down the job if thunderstorms are forecast.
  • Keep an eye on the weather throughout the day.  Stay tuned to the radio for updates on the weather.
  • If lightning threatens, seek shelter indooors.
  • If a storm is up and you’re caught outdoors, seek the appropriate shelter.  Here are examples of safe shelter sites:

*   substantial buildings

*   low ground — seek cover in clumps of bushes

*  fully enclosed metal vehicles with the windows rolled up

*  trees of uniform height

  • The following are unsafe areas to seek shelter in:

*  electric/power poles
*  electrical equipment
*  heavy and road machinery
*  solitary trees
*  high ground and caves
*  water
*  open fields
*  all outdoor metal objects, like gates and fences
*  high mast light poles
*   metal bleachers

  • You can determine the distance of lightning by listening carefully to the thunder that accompanies it.  If you hear thunder, the associated lightning  is at most 6-8 miles away.  The distance lightning can strike ahead of a thunderstorm can also be a number of miles.  If you hear thunder, immediately  suspend activities while allowing enough time to seek shelter.
  • If you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises”, you are in lightning’s electric field and it is close.
  • If lightning is extremely close to you and you are caught outside without shelter, immediately remove baseball cap and other metal objects and place them away from you.  Put your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low in baseball catcher’s stance with hands on knees.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes from the last observed lightning or sound of thunder before resuming activities.
  • Be cautious in following a thunderstorm as the lightning may not be over.
  • If a co-worker gets struck by lightning, administer first aid immediately.  Remember that it is safe to touch them as they do not carry an electric charge.  Seek medical assistance immediately. .

Other Articles You May Like

  • Safety While Working with Electrical LinesSafety While Working with Electrical Lines
  • General Maintenance and Winter Safety: Repairing Damaged or Downed Power Lines and TreesGeneral Maintenance and Winter Safety: Repairing Damaged or Downed Power Lines and Trees
  • Electrical Safety in the WorkplaceElectrical Safety in the Workplace
  • National Fire Protection AssociationNational Fire Protection Association


6 thoughts on “Lightning Safety Guidelines

  1. renaldo mckinnis says:

    the place where I work is always working when its lighting bad we work outside alot and lighting be very close around and I think its very unsafe because I seen someone get struck by lighting before on a past job and I haven’t said anything because I’m scared of loosing my job what should I do

  2. Steve says:

    Resume working 30 minutes after the last lightning strike. That’s what they do at major sporting events so why wouldn’t joe worker be as special as some athlete well you are. greed makes companies do a lot of evil things but legally they can’t make you work in a lightning storm regardless of whatever lie they make up.

  3. randis packmanus says:

    ive had foremen tell me i can go outside during one.
    another gave me a stupid look for standing down a t-storm.
    its hard for workers when management are such idiots.

  4. Chris Miller says:

    An issue at work has prompted my contact with you. I work at UPS and was instructed to go out in the yard to shift trailers sitting beside the gas pumps during a thunderstorm. It was thundering and lightning. I claimed this was an unsafe practice and that I was not comfortable with doing that until the weather cleared. I was fired because of this.

  5. NO Coast says:

    when it comes to workers and rights you have the Right to be safe, bottom line, if workers stopped being concerned about what the employer thinks and start standing up for themselves the injury rate would sink drastically STOP being pushed around and treat the employer as they treat you, if they fire you over it, then your better off somewhere else and you have rights to a lawsuit.

  6. Terry says:

    You hear thunder and the storm clouds are moving your way the lightning is approximately 6 miles away.
    I’ve testified in several civil cases where a supervisor would not shut down the work and someone was killed by lightning.
    I worked as a Federal OSHA Investigator specializing in fatality investigations.
    Supervisors……don’t put yourself in this position for the sake of management’s position to keep working. It’s not production at all costs. Production and safety are a single unit or value in a companies structure. One death can put you out of business. SEEN IT MAN TIMES.

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