During the summer months, it’s common to see serious and severe storms come through Pennsylvania. You may work an outdoor job that requires you to be out in the elements, but being unaware of the potential for lighting strikes or other poor weather conditions could put you at risk of serious injuries.
The interesting thing about lightning is that it tends to increase as you get closer to the equator as well as when you ascend into the mountains. Pennsylvania has some mountainous regions, and in those, you should be aware of the greater risk of lightning strikes.
When there is a feasible risk of storms, you need to take precautions
Your employer has a responsibility to provide you with a work environment free of any hazards that could cause you serious harm whenever there is a possible method of abating them. If there is a risk of storms happening, you need to take action.
When hazardous conditions are present, you should avoid:
- Working on scaffolding
- Working on the tops of walls
- Working on crane hoists
In some cases, you may be able to continue working if the right controls are implemented.
Generally speaking, no place outside is safe when a thunderstorm is present. If you can hear thunder, lightning is already possible. You should return inside and continue work only when the hazard has passed.
Seek shelter in buildings that are fully enclosed whenever possible. Avoid being around metal objects, and stay inside until at least 30 minutes after the last flash of lightning or clap of thunder.
If you cannot get into a building during the storm, the next best option is to seek shelter inside a vehicle. If you get into your vehicle, follow the same rules and stay inside (with the windows up) until the storm has passed for at least 30 minutes.
Avoid being around wiring, plumbing, isolated tall objects, like trees, and open fields. By taking some simple precautions like these, you can keep yourself safe and greatly reduce the risk of getting hit by lightning or affected by electrical discharges of other kinds on site. If you do end up with a workplace injury, then it’s reasonable to look into seeking emergency care and compensation.