Lightning, which is most common during the summer months, poses a serious risk to workers—especially those who work outside.
In the event of a thunderstorm, you should take shelter immediately. However, if you are trapped outside during a storm, take the following precautions:
1. Stay off of and away from tall or large objects, such as rooftops, trees, utility poles, fences, scaffolding, ladders and other large equipment.
2. Avoid being the tallest object in an open area. Seek shelter in low-lying areas and do not hold objects that can make you a target for lightning, such as umbrellas.
3. Stay away from bodies of water. When lightning strikes water, it can travel a significant distance from its initial point of contact.
4. Avoid parking under tall objects or getting out of the vehicle near downed power lines if you are taking shelter in a vehicle.
In the event that you or another employee has been struck by lightning, it’s critical that you seek medical assistance immediately.
Remember that individuals who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and can be touched. If the victim’s heart has stopped or if he or she has stopped breathing, administer CPR as soon as possible.
For further protection, it’s critical to keep in mind some common myths about lightning. For instance, rubber tires on cars don’t insulate you from the ground. Rather, it is the metal roof and sides that protect you from a strike. As such, you should never lean on the doors of a vehicle during a storm.
In addition, it is a commonly held belief that lightning does not strike twice in the same place. In actuality, the opposite is true, and lightning often strikes the same object repeatedly, especially if it is tall and isolated.
Following these safety tips and keeping the above myths in mind will ensure that you are safe from lightning whenever you work outside.