Did you know that Florida is considered the lightning capital of the US. In terms of density—or lightning strikes per square mile—Florida had the most with 285 lightning events per square mile in 2022, according to WUSF Public Media. Tucker Paving has nearly 30 years of experience in the pavement industry in Central Florida, and you had better believe we head for the trucks when those dark summer afternoon thunderhead clouds start rolling overhead! Lightning is not often seen as an occupational hazard on a construction site, but if you work outdoors, it is! You need to know how to stay safe if a thunderstorm hits.
Lightning Safety in Construction
According to OSHA, lightning strikes about 300 people in the US every year, killing approximately 50 and injuring more; being struck by lightning can not only kill you, but it can also lead to permanent disabilities. If you see storm clouds gathering and heading towards your jobsite, then it is time to get somewhere safe! OSHA’s advise is “When thunder roars, go indoors!” All thunder is caused by lightning, so if you hear thunder, then there is lightning.
OSHA advises taking the following steps to stay safe from lightning on a construction site:
- Check weather apps. Most weather apps have a radar function that shows storm system movements and developments in real time. Many can pinpoint how close you are to recent lightning strikes so you’ll always know that a storm is coming and can prepare.
- Seek shelter. Once you see storm clouds, hear thunder, or see lightning, then it is time to get to shelter. The most desirable shelter is a fully enclosed building with electrical wiring and plumbing. However, not all construction sites offer such shelter! In such cases, hard-topped vehicles will also offer protection; just make sure to keep the windows rolled up. Standing under a tree is not a safe spot to shelter from a thunderstorm as lightning often strikes the tallest object in an area. Additionally, sheds, pavilions, tents, or covered porches do not offer adequate protection from lightning.
- Stay away from metal and water. The interior wiring and plumbing of a building act as an earth ground, sending lightning safely down into the ground. While waiting out the storm, stay away from all metal objects, equipment, and surfaces that can conduct electricity, such as electrical equipment or cords, plumbing fixtures, landline phones, or concrete walls or floors containing rebar.
- Don’t leave your shelter too soon. Oftentimes, people think it’s safe to leave their shelter after a storm has passed overhead. However, the danger has not been eliminated until 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder or see the last flash of lightning.
The Tucker Paving team is no stranger to working outdoors as we offer site clearing, site grading, stabilized subgrade, base work, asphalt paving, underground utilities, and concrete curbs, sidewalks, slabs, and tie-beams as part of our over 25 years of experience in the concrete and asphalt paving construction industry. Safety is always or #1 priority. Call us at (863) 299-2262, or contact us online, for your next project!