'Six construction workers killed by lightning!'
It sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn't it?
But this is the exact headline that dominated South Africa papers at one point. This, after six individuals died and five others were injured by lightning on the N8 outside Botshabelo near Bloemfontein.
And with the seasons changing, and weather being a little unpredictable, we thought there was no better time than the present to provide you with vital lightning protection strategies for your employees.
After all, if they work outdoors, this is a risk they face whenever the weather turns for the worst…
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Quick: Before disaster strikes, call your employees in for a toolbox talk to discuss these lightning safety precautions
Our health and safety experts have one very clear safety message your employees must remember when it comes to working safely outdoors.
It goes like this: 'If you can see it (Lightning), flee it; if you can hear it (Thunder), clear it.'
And that's why they urge you to discuss the following four points during toolbox talk on lightning safety:
1. As soon as you hear thunder, take action. It means the danger of lightning is near and you and your team need to go to a safe location to wait the storm out. Safe locations include:
a. Fully enclosed metal vehicles with all windows and doors closed.
b. Large permanent buildings.
They must not stay outside, or worse in an elevated area where they're exposed to the elements.
Keep reading for the next few points…
Four points to discuss during your toolbox talk… continued
2. Remind them that NO outdoor area is safe. Especially if it's near metal objects including fences, machinery and electrical equipment. This includes rain shelters, Zozo huts and gazebos.
3. They should NOT go back outside until it's been 20 minutes after they last observed lightning or heard thunder.
4. If, heaven forbid, the worst happens and one of their team members is struck down , remind your employees that lightning does not carry an electrical charge and, if they are trained in to do so, they must apply CPR and first aid while getting another team member to get professional emergency help.
By taking the following lightning safety precautions and stressing them in a toolbox talk and through other training, you'll be able to keep your employees safe from harm.
Until next time,
P.S. Are you wasting valuable time figuring out which Toolbox Talks to train your employees on?
There's an easier way to choose your health and safety toolbox topics. Here's how to save your time and still be compliant with the OHS Act.