Lightning can be a dangerous aspect of mother nature during thunderstorms. Just in the United States, lightning occurs 20 to 25 million times and around 300 people are struck by lightning annually. Around 50 people per year, on average, have been killed by lightning strikes and many more suffer permanent injuries. Lightning should be considered an occupational hazard by employers.

Jobs that involve working outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, or near explosives or metal have significant exposure to lightning risks. Some of the higher risk work activities include industrial, manufacturing, aviation, and the construction industries.

It is important to reduce lightning hazards when working outdoors by being informed and seeking shelter. Lightning is unpredictable and can strike up to 10 miles from the closest rainfall. Many lightning strike injuries/deaths occur because the victim did not promptly get to safe cover or they went back outside to soon after the storm passed.

Checking NOAA weather reports prior to beginning any outdoor work is an important first step to avoiding the hazards of lightning. Also, watching for darkening clouds and increasing wind speeds can indicate of a developing thunderstorm. Seeking shelter in an enclosed building is imperative to reducing lightning risks. It is important to remain in the building for 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder. If buildings are not an option, hard-topped metal vehicles with the windows rolled up should be used as a shelter.

Another important part of lightning safety is having a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) which should:

  • Inform supervisors and workers to act 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.

Workers should be adequately trained on lightning safety, as far as what to look for and what to do during a lightning storm. If caught outside in a thunderstorm, avoid tall objects such as isolated tall trees, hilltops, utility poles, cell phone towers, cranes, large equipment, ladders, scaffolding, or rooftops. Avoid open areas and bodies of water and retreat to dense areas. Also avoid wiring, plumbing or fencing and do not seek shelter in sheds, pavilions or tents as these do not provide adequate cover. It is also important to know OSHA standards, which prohibits certain work to be done during high winds or storms. Employers must be aware of and take lightning hazards seriously. Proper precautions must be made to ensure that injury or death from lightning strikes are avoided.

Have you ever witnessed a lightning strike? If so, what was it like?

Lightning Safety

Lightning Safety

Click here to download the pdf version of our safety meeting titled Lightning Safety

Since 2009 we have provided expert SAFETY CONSULTINGINSPECTIONSTAFFING, and TRAINING services. We currently service over 100 cities teaching the EPA RRP LEAD RENOVATOR CERTIFICATION TRAINING. If you can work around our schedule we can typically deliver our services for near or the same price you would pay right here in Cincinnati, OH. Our mission is to reduce workplace accidents and injuries. We believe that these free safety meetings help us achieve that goal. The best compliment you could give us is to forward these along to another company.

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10th Anniversary Compliance Package

10th Anniversary Compliance Package


How can proActive Safety Services help us achieve our safety goals?

We have experience assisting companies with less than 5 employees to working with giant corporate companies like DHL. We have found that every situation is a little bit different. We offer a free safety assessment that can help us determine the gaps in your current program. From that assessment we are able to work together to develop a strategy to meet your goals. We have a team of 10 safety professionals and access to a network of over 5 senior safety directors within our community.

Does proActive Safety Services Offer Private Training Courses?

We specialize in delivering private training courses. In fact, we have sold more custom training courses that OSHA Outreach Training courses. Complete custom classes can get pretty expensive. However, it is easy to add in photos of your facilities, videos you may currently use, or any other custom content you feel is necessary. The best way to develop a custom course is to create Job Safety Analysis for each job type. It is simple for us at that point to develop a training program that covers the hazard your employees will face.