The standard British weather is certainly upon us again. Over the last couple of weeks we have seen not only bright sunshine, but a thunderstorm on at least two separate occasions. For most of us, a thunderstorm will not affect our everyday working tasks, however for those operating construction machinery, it is a completely different situation.
Do you know the do’s and don’ts of operating during a thunderstorm? Read below to find out more. Plus check out our range of NPORS construction courses available at the Diggerland Plant Training School.
WHO IS MORE AT RISK OF INJURY?
As we mentioned previously, some works are more at risk than others. Generally anyone who has a job that requires them to work outside in opening spaces, or with conductive materials have a higher exposure to lightning. Workers in the following occupations should make sure they take the appropriate health and safety precautions:
- Explosive handling and storing
- Construction machinery operation
- Plumbing and metal pipe fitting
- Utilities such as electricity
- Farming and agriculture
- Building maintenance
Did you know that 30 – 60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain? On average 3 incidents are also fatal. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, and the thunder begins to rumble then it’s always best to be prepared. If you work with construction machinery or in any of the above fields, then follow our top tips below to stay safe.
TOP TIPS TO STAY SAFE DURING A THUNDERSTORM
Lightning can be a dangerous natural force that could potentially cause workers serious harm. This particular type of weather is often overlooked when it comes to health and safety, however it should be considered when working on a construction site. It’s vital that anyone working outside is aware of the hazards, and how they can prevent any injuries or possibly fatalities.
Don’t start a job that you can’t stop halfway through
If a weather warning is issued, always ensure you keep checking the forecast for the day. Workers should also keep an eye out for any signs of an incoming storm such as high winds, grey skies, heavy rain, distant thunder or lightning. We would always recommend also considering your work schedule. Try not to start a task that can’t be quickly stopped if you need to take shelter. It can also be finished again when the storm passes.
Know your company’s lightning safety warning procedure
Any construction site will have a procedure in place to evacuate workers in the event of a thunderstorm. Whether that be a siren warning, flashing lights or an announcement, workers will know to quickly evacuate their work site, and go to a designated meeting point. Anyone in an authority position should also conduct a risk assessment if bad weather is due, and make all employees aware of any health and safety concerns.
Know what objects and equipment to avoid during a thunderstorm
When a thunderstorm is present, we highly advise individuals to keep away from the following objects/equipment:
- Stay away from tall buildings, scaffolding, rooftops and ladders
- Keep away from heavy construction machinery including cranes, excavators, backhoe loaders and tractors etc
- Do not touch any materials that will conduct electrical currents including metal scaffolding and tools, power lines, water, and water pipes
- Stay well away from areas with explosives
All of the above will increase your chance of being struck by lightning, and causing serious injuries.
Any individual working outside should make it a priority to get to a safe form of shelter as soon as physically possible. Most workers will have a building they can evacuate to, which will be enclosed. It is recommended that individuals stay inside until at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder.
If a building is not available, any hard topped metal vehicles with rolled up windows will also be safe.
If neither of the above are options, then we would strongly recommend avoiding tall trees, open areas such as fields, and any bodies of water. Any sheds, tents or covered porches will not provide the required protection from lightning.
Health and safety
So what should you do if someone you work with is unfortunately struck by lightning? They will of course need immediate medical attention, as a cardiac arrest is the cause of death. Anyone struck by lightning will not carry an electrical charge, so it will be safe for anyone qualified to carry out CPR if they are unresponsive or not breathing.
HEALTH AND SAFETY COURSES AVAILABLE AT THE DIGGERLAND PLANT TRAINING SCHOOL
At the Diggerland Plant Training School we have plenty of construction machinery and health and safety courses to choose from. Should you wish to become a Fire Warden or find out more about Manual Handling in the workplace, then we have a course for you.
Emergency First Aid at Work
Our Emergency First Aid at Work course is suitable for all sectors, and very popular with anyone that would like to expand on their first aid knowledge. The course will take one day to complete, and will be valid for 3 years before it will need to be renewed.
Individuals can expect to cover the following:
- Dealing with an unresponsive person
- Carrying out CPR
- Wounds and bleeding
- Other minor injuries
Harness and Fall Arrest
For those of you that will be working at a height, our NPORS Harness and Fall Arrest course is a vital health and safety course for you to book. Once you have successfully passed the qualification will be valid for 5 years, and only takes half a day to obtain. We will go through all of the correct equipment you will need to use, how to use it, and how to spot any potential hazards or faults.
All of our health and safety courses can be found on our website.
CONTACT US TODAY TO BOOK
Our training school is open from 8am – 6pm, 7 days a week. We can arrange a time and date to suit you or your company. We can also offer off site training for those not able to attend our plant training school in Kent.
Ready to find out more information about our NPORS training courses? Email us today or give us a call to receive course prices, and get booked on.
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