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News June 1, 2022

Workers should be aware of lightning-related safety hazards

As summer heats up and thunderstorms occur, it is important construction workers understand the risks of lightning-related safety hazards, according to

Lightning is unpredictable and can strike outside the heaviest rainfall areas or even up to 10 miles from any rainfall. Many lightning victims are caught outside during a storm because they did not act promptly to get to a safe place or they go back outside too soon after a storm has passed.

It is important to make sure workers are trained regarding lightning safety, and anyone who works outdoors needs to have a lightning safety plan.

The No. 1 safety tip is to get inside as soon as you hear thunder; large enclosed structures with plumbing and electrical wiring are the safest places. If this is not available, suitable alternatives include enclosed metal vehicles, such as cars, trucks or vans. Remain in the shelter for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last sound of thunder.

Buildings with exposed sides are not considered safe shelter. Additionally, construction equipment, tractors, golf carts, vehicles with open cabs and convertible vehicles are not safe.

The National Weather Service says if you cannot get to a safe building or vehicle, you should avoid open areas—do not be the tallest object in the area; stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles; and stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences because lightning can travel long distances through metal, among other recommendations.

View additional lightning safety tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Weather Service.


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