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Today, I share with you a construction safety hazard that can cause serious injury or even death to construction workers, yet is so common that it happens an estimated 100 times every second. That hazard is lightning. 


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lightning is one of the leading weather-related causes of death and injury in the United States and the odds of being struck by lightning over your lifetime is 1 in 3,000! Most likely to develop on hot, humid days when outside construction activities are most likely to be taking place, thunderstorms and lightning can be very dangerous. Understanding how to protect oneself from an average 100,000,000 volts of electricity per lightning strike is extremely important.
Do’s and Don’ts If Caught In a Lightning Storm
  • Do take shelter inside a building or car and close the windows and doors. 
  • Do get off equipment immediately. 
  • Do get out of the water if you are swimming.
  • Do get out of the water if boating. If you cannot immediately get out of the water, stay low and avoid contact with the water until you can get away from it. 
  • Do not take refuge under any tall, isolated object, such as a tree. Standing under a group of trees shorter than others in the area is better than being in the open. 
  • Don’t touch electric fences, clothes lines, metal pipes,rails, telephone poles or any other conductor. 
  • Do put down any object that might conduct electricity, such as a rake, hoe or shovel. 
  • If you are outside with no way to get to shelter, do get to a low spot, make your body as low to the ground as possible but do not lay flat on the earth. Curl on your side or drop to your knees and bend forward putting your hands on your knees. If there is a group of people, spread out. If someone feels there hairs stand on end, it may mean lightning is about to strike. Stay calm and keep low.
First Aid for Lightning Strikes
If someone is struck by lightning, provide first aid immediately for any injury that is visible, and be prepared to provide CPR. And call 9-1-1 immediately!
Did You Know…
  • Rubber-soled shoes provide absolutely no protection from lightning
  • If you can hear thunder, you are within 10 miles of a storm and are within reach of lightning.
  • An automobile can offer protection by acting like a Faraday cage, provided that the occupants do not touch the metal of the care while inside.
Knowing this information will help keep you safe in a storm and may just safe your life!

William Powell III, or Billy as he as known to most, is a Regional Safety Manager for Donley's, Inc. 
Learn more about Donley's safety program.

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