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Loss Control Insights for Contractors

Lightning: Plan Ahead to Protect Outdoor Employees

Calendars showing June, July and August as lightning season. mobile view

Workers on the job account for a significant portion of the total number of people struck by lightning. Roofers, construction workers, road crews, pipe fitters and farm workers are at especially high risk because they spend much of their time standing on open ground or a roof – prime targets for lightning trying to make its way to ground. Work sites should have a plan in place to help keep outdoor workers safe in case of a storm. 

Monitor Weather Conditions 

Check out the weather forecast daily and keep tabs on any developing storms that pose a risk of severe weather. You can go low-tech with a portable weather radio, or choose from a variety of apps for your mobile device that display up-to-the-minute conditions and radar. 

Know When to Take Shelter 

If you can see lightning or hear thunder, then you are within range of a possible lightning strike. When workers hear thunder, they should immediately begin moving to a safe shelter and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder is heard. The key is to get to shelter before the lightning threat becomes significant. 

Choose a Safe Shelter 

A fully enclosed building is the best choice for lightning protection. If no structures are available, a hard-topped, enclosed vehicle is also acceptable. Open structures (like picnic shelters) and open vehicles (such as golf carts) do not provide any lightning protection.

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