Lightning Safety Awareness Week, Day 4: Work Safety
The National Weather Service and NOAA have declared the week of June 20th through 24th, LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK in Maine. This is the fourth in a series of five public information statements containing information on lightning and lightning safety.
LIGHTNING SAFETY AT WORK
For those who work outside during the summer, lightning is a potentially deadly threat. While summer is a good time to complete outside work, it is very important to work in a safe environment.
Any time a thunderstorm is in the area, no place outside is safe.
Between 2006 and 2015, 47 people were struck and killed by lightning in the United States while at work.
About two-thirds of those killed were farmers, ranchers, roofers, lawn care workers, or construction workers.
Workers whose jobs involve working outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, or near explosives or conductive material like metal have significant exposure to lightning risks.
Worker activities at higher risk for lightning hazards include:
• Explosives handling or storage
• Heavy equipment operation
• Building maintenance
• Power utility field repair
• Steel erection/telecommunications
• Farming and field labor
• Plumbing and pipe fitting
• Lawn services/landscaping
• Airport ground personnel operations
• Pool and beach lifeguarding
Many of those killed were seeking shelter at the time of the deadly strike, but just hadn't started soon enough.
Many work activities require extra time to shut down. In these cases, it is important to monitor weather conditions so that the work activities can end and workers can get to a safe place before the lightning threat arrives.
Similar to all outdoor activities, workers need to stop what they are doing immediately and get to a safe place if they hear thunder.
When thunder roars, go indoors!
If you hear thunder, even a distant rumble, get to a safe place immediately. Thunderstorms always include lightning.
Any thunder you hear is caused by lightning!
NOAA advises that nowhere outside is safe when thunderstorms are in your area.
Emergency Action Plan:
The EAP should include a written lightning safety protocol for outdoor workers.This lightning safety protocol should:
• Inform supervisors and workers to take action after hearing thunder, seeing lightning,
or perceiving any other warning signs of approaching thunderstorms.
• Indicate how workers are notified about lightning safety warnings.
• Identify locations and requirements for safe shelters.
• Indicate response times necessary for all workers to reach safe shelters.
• Specify approaches for determining when to suspend outdoor work activities, and when to resume outdoor work activities.
• Account for the time required to evacuate customers and members of the public, and
the time needed for workers to reach safety.
Employers should also post information about lightning safety at outdoor worksites.
All employees should be trained on how to follow the EAP, including the lightning safety procedures.
Lightning question of the day:
What do I do if someone is struck by lightning?
Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge, are safe to touch, and may need immediate medical attention.
Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death for those who die.
Some deaths can be prevented with proper first aid.
Call 911 and then give first aid. CPR and use of an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)may be needed.
For additional information about lightning or lightning safety, visit NOAA's Lightning Safety Awareness web site.