Minnesota construction workers have a high risk for lightning exposure. In the construction industry, you work with heavy equipment, near and on tall buildings, scaffolding and more. Lightning strikes ground between 20 to 25 million times a year in the U.S, according to Forbes. For most people, this might not be much of a risk. However, those who are in outdoor industries, like construction, have a higher risk. In fact, one out of five deaths by lightning was work-related.
An awareness of thunderstorms and the likelihood of a storm may be the first step into protection at a construction site. Tall objects often attract lightning. Hoists, ladders, cranes and other tall objects are more at risk than other objects. This does not mean that shorter objects are immune. In fact, smaller objects are targets.
Employers and supervisors at construction sites have an obligation to train employees on dangerous weather situations. All construction sites need an Emergency Action Plan. This plan includes safety protocols on what to do when there is an expectation of lightning. When you have a thunderstorm, there is no way to predict where lightning will strike. This is why it is crucial to stay up to date on any possible storms.
You may need up to date weather reports and storm alerts. This will provide you and other construction workers ample time to take cover. If lightning is at a distance of eight miles or less, then all work should halt and all workers should take cover.
The information above is meant to report on the dangers of lightning. It is not legal advice.