Each year, about 20 million bolts of lightning strike the earth’s surface, and each can carry upwards of 300 million volts and 30,000 amps. While being struck by lightning is a rare event, over the past 10 years around 250 Americans have died this way, and thousands have been severely injured.
Some workers face greater dangers than others, and sheet metal workers check off a few boxes in in this category — those who handle heavy equipment, work on rooftops, or with plumbing, pipe fitting, construction or building maintenance face the most risk from lightning.
Experts recommend always monitoring the weather and seeking shelter in a substantial building or hard-topped metal vehicle during thunderstorms. If thunderstorms are threatening, don’t start any tasks you cannot quickly stop. Stay off and away from tall structures, such as scaffolding and ladders, and large equipment. If a co-worker is struck by lightning, they will need urgent medical attention. Lightning strike victims do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to approach and touch. Many lightning deaths are due to cardiac arrest, and some may be prevented with CPR and an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Click here to find CPR classes near you or contact your local SMART training center about first aid and CPR classes available to SMART members.
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