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Protect your employees from lightning

Blog image - Protect employees from lightning

School district employees who work outside, such as custodians and maintenance workers, must contend with a wide variety of weather-related hazards. Snow, ice, high winds, damaging rain and hail all require specific safety measures. But have you ever spent much time talking with your employees about lightning safety?

The National Lightning Safety Council has designated June 23-29, 2024, as National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Every year, more than 300 people in the United States are struck by lightning. This week is a time to look at your organization’s practices to ensure you are providing the proper protection from lightning.

When thunder roars, go indoors

Many lightning victims are injured because they did not seek shelter soon enough, or because they came back outside too soon. The best protocol is to always go inside when you hear thunder, because thunderstorms always include lightning.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that employers of people who work outdoors pay close attention to the weather conditions, rescheduling any outdoor jobs if the weather report looks grim.

You should have a written emergency action plan that details how you will keep workers safe from lightning. That plan should include information about:

  • How workers are informed about thunder so they can take shelter.
  • Where workers can seek shelter (whether they are at a school or district building).
  • When the employer will determine the safest time for workers to resume their activities.

Determine adequate shelter ahead of time

In some situations, employees and children will be in an area, such as a park or other outdoor venue, where it may be difficult to seek shelter from the lightning. Check the weather report and have a plan for where your people will be safest, and how they can protect themselves if they can’t find shelter.

In these cases, they should seek lower elevation areas and avoid higher hilltops and locations. Avoid isolated trees, as they are likely the highest point in the surrounding area; instead, seek out dense woods. If they are exposed in an isolated area without cover, they should crouch as low as possible with their feet as close together as possible. They should not lie flat on the ground or place their hands on the ground, as this increases the area of their body in contact with the ground.

Check out these additional risk management resources to keep your employees safe.

CM Regent Solutions

CM Regent Solutions provides a variety of employee benefit products and third-party claims administration services. Our consultative approach ensures our services fit our customers' needs, including: Group Life Insurance, Disability, Dental, Vision and COBRA.

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