Contractors have a plethora of concerns to juggle in order to keep their jobsites safe and productive. One of the most dangerous and least controllable elements on a construction site is the weather. Thunderstorms can be particularly deadly for construction personnel that are unprepared for lightning strikes. In this two-part series, a Florida construction lawyer at Cotney Construction Law will detail what your workforce should do before, during, and after a thunderstorm. If you believe your workers are in danger of injury, consult with one of our Florida construction lawyers.
Construction Sites at Risk
Thunderstorm preparedness is vital in Florida, where many of the nations most lightning-prone cities are located. Construction sites are particularly vulnerable. The high elevation of looming steel structures, cranes, and boom lifts commonly found on project sites can attract lightning during a storm. Metal materials and equipment can become deadly hazards when struck by lightning.
Lightning is unpredictable. Your safety measures shouldn’t be. As stipulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 29 CFR 1910.38 and 29 CFR 1926.35, employers must have a written and easily accessible Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that covers the procedures that should be followed in the event of a thunderstorm, lightning strike, or another emergency. All employees should be familiar with and competently trained in the procedures detailed in this plan. The EAP should include the following information:
- The actions to be taken when a thunderstorm approaches
- How to communicate warnings to workers
- When workers should seek shelter
- Shelter locations and the time needed to reach them
Check the Weather
Always monitor radio, television, and internet weather reports prior to and while working outdoors. Dark clouds and increasingly strong winds are a sign that a thunderstorm is brewing and that your workers should seek shelter. The American Red Cross states that a severe thunderstorm warning indicates an “immediate danger to life and property.” Don’t risk the lives of your workers or the success of your project by failing to heed obvious warnings. Failure to protect your workers from a thunderstorm could result in a preventable injury or fatality under your watch.
For more information on staying safe during a thunderstorm, please read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.