• How Do Construction Sites Protect Workers from Lightning?

    lightning boltConstruction work is one of the most dangerous occupational settings. Workers are at risk from equipment, falling objects, and suffering their own falls from high elevations or into excavated holes. Those who work outdoors also face the elements on a daily basis, and this means that when lightning strikes occur, their lives are in immediate danger unless they take immediate action. A well-run construction site will have specific procedures in place to protect workers from workplace accidents involving lightning. Here are some of the most important common sense lightning safety policies.

     

    • Site supervisors should always be aware of weather conditions, checking forecasts for impending severe weather and monitoring throughout the day if the forecast warrants. It is a good policy for construction sites to have weather radios on at all times.
    • Safety procedures should be created and communicated so that when bad weather occurs, all employees know exactly what they are supposed to do and where their weather shelters are for the site.
    • Work sites need to have a shelter that protects workers. These shelters should be chosen to avoid tall objects, which are usually the target of lightning strikes. The wooden shelters provided for breaks are not appropriate, and neither are picnic shelters or other post-supported structures. Fully enclosed metal vehicles or mobile equipment work, including buses and construction equipment with enclosed metal cabs. All windows should be rolled up and people should avoid touching objects that penetrate from outside to inside such as door handles. Metal shipping containers and railroad boxcars make effective shelters.
    • Workers should be advised that when thunder can be heard, it is within 8 miles and the area needs to be cleared, with all activities suspended, in order to provide sufficient time to get to shelter.
    • After a storm seems to have passed, normal work activities should not be resumed for at least 30 minutes to ensure that the area is safe.
    • Workers who find themselves in a lightning electrical field should immediately remove all metal objects, including hats. Feet should be placed together and head ducked down, then crouch in a baseball catcher’s position with hands covering ears.

     

    If a workplace accident occurs and an employee is struck by lightning, contact emergency support immediately and apply first aid. There is no reason not to touch a lightning victim. They are safe to handle, and delays can cost lives. If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident, contact us today for information on your rights.

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