There are some workers who face more risks than others. For example, people who work in open spaces, with explosives, near tall objects, with conductive materials or outdoors are more likely to be struck by lightning than people who work indoors in an office or in similar settings. Workers in the following jobs face the greatest risk of being struck by lightning:
– Explosive storing and handling
– Plumbing or pipe fitting
– Heavy equipment operators
– Farming or field labor
– Power utility field repair
– Construction and building maintenance
– Telecommunications field repair
It is best to avoid starting any projects that cannot be stopped immediately if there is a chance of thunderstorms. People who work in these types of jobs should pay close attention to the weather forecasts every day to better know what to expect. It is also important to pay attention to any early signs of thunderstorms. Dark clouds, high winds, distant lighting, and rain are all telltale signs that a thunderstorm is approaching.
Workers in these types of jobs should also know their companies’ safety warning programs. If businesses have functions that are higher risks such as storing explosives or repairing them, there should be a formal lightning safety policy in place that meets the following standards:
– Danger warnings should be issued with enough advance notice that all workers are able to make it to a safe place.
– Workers should have access to a safe place at all times.
It is important to assess the risk of lightning strikes and take any necessary measures to prevent major injuries. When there are thunderstorms, outdoor locations are not safe. If a person can hear thunder, this is a sign that lightning is close enough to strike. As soon as thunder is heard, it is important to stop working immediately to find a safe place. A substantial building or vehicle with a hard-topped roof will be safer. It is also helpful to know what equipment or objects to avoid during a thunderstorm. Consider these tips:
– Stay away and off of equipment such as cranes, bulldozers, track loaders, tractors and backhoes.
– Stay away and off of tall buildings, high rooftops, ladders, utility poles and scaffolding.
– Leave any areas that contain munitions or explosives.
– Avoid touching any surfaces or materials that conduct electricity. This includes utility lines, metal scaffolding, water, plumbing, pipes and metal equipment.
If another worker is struck by lightning, keep in mind that he or she is safe to touch afterward. Humans do not carry electrical charges, and they must have immediate medical attention if they are struck. For those who die from lightning strikes, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death. If a victim receives immediate care, death may be preventable. If another worker is struck by lightning, call 911 immediately. If the person is not breathing, it is important to perform CPR when possible. Automatic external defibrillators can also be used if they are available. To learn more about this topic and insurance questions, discuss concerns with an agent.