Outdoor Workers’ Safety Training Should Include Mitigating Lightning Hazards
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the need to reduce lightning hazards for outdoor workers.
Although lightning is often overlooked as an occupational hazard by many employers, for many workers it is a significant hazard that should be taken seriously.
The summer months bring increased thunderstorm activity to many regions that can kill or severely injure workers involved in outdoor activities. According to a fact sheet from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the United States alone, cloud-to-ground lightning occurs 20 to 25 million times each year. Global estimates of the number of people killed each year by lightning are in the thousands, with many more injured.
Although lightning is often overlooked as an occupational hazard by many employers, for many workers it is a significant hazard that should be taken seriously. Deaths and injuries can occur through direct and indirect strikes or from subsequent events caused by a lightning strike.
OSHA reports, “Workers whose jobs involve working outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, or near explosives or conductive materials (e.g., metal) have significant exposure to lightning risks.” The agency lists a number of worker activities at higher risk of lightning hazards that includes everything from roofing, construction and logging to lifeguarding, power utility field repair and landscaping.
“Companies and institutions with workers at risk of lightning hazards should train their supervisors and employees about the risks, precautions they should take and where to seek safe shelter,” said Susan Ripple, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help with these efforts. CIHs are trained in health risk analysis, hazard communication and work environments. These and other core competencies of the CIH® program are instrumental for ensuring a safe work environment that will not expose outdoor workers to undue risks associated with lightning strikes and other hazards.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene ®
Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is the premier credentialing body responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6800 people in 32 countries are certified to use the CIH® designation.
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