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Safety Tips for Working in a Stormy Season

As the result of an active storm track and abundant Gulf moisture, it’s been an exceptionally stormy spring with above average precipitation. This weather pattern poses unique safety challenges for utility locators and other outdoor workers. Here are some tips for staying safe in stormy weather:

  • Make a habit of checking weather reports from a reputable source before beginning your project.  Continuously monitor weather conditions throughout the duration of the project. Watch for darkening clouds and increasing wind speeds
  • As part of your Health & Safety training, ensure that your staff members are trained and skilled to identify weather-related hazards and illnesses
     
  • Ensure that field staff is equipped with the appropriate PPE including anti-fogging eye protection and wipes. If dark clouds and fog impede visibility, keep your project site illuminated even during day time hours
     
  • Make sure that safety boots have anti-slip soles and ample tread to prevent slips and falls on wet surfaces. Pant legs should come over the top of the boots, rather than being tucked inside
     
  • Ensure that gloves worn fit snuggly and have a non-slip grip, particularly when working with hand tools
     
  • Wear ventilated material that insulates even when wet. Wool or synthetic material is a good option
     
  •  Always refrain from using power tools in rainy weather, even after the rain has passed and wet conditions remain
     
  • Thunder is usually an indicator of impending lightening which tends to strike higher ground and prominent objects, especially those that conduct electricity, such as metal.  During a thunderstorm, take shelter in a fully enclosed building and where that is not an option, take shelter in a hard topped vehicle with the windows closed
     
  • If you are caught outside and unable to seek proper shelter, there are a few things you can keep in mind to minimize your chance of being struck by lightning. For example, avoid tall objects such as utility poles, phone towers or large equipment. Avoid open spaces and seek low lying areas such as a valley or a ditch, but watch for flooding and be sure to avoid water.  Stay away from all metal objects such as wiring, fencing and plumbing

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