With lightning season approaching, it is best to learn and understand the safety regulations that regards to lightning. Lightning is a dangerous, spontaneous, and wild thing. Understanding what the proper procedures are and how to apply them is very important. Here are a couple things we should be most concerned about. When to suspend operations, how do we protect the equipment, and most importantly how do we protect ourselves.
Knowing when to suspend crane operations at the right time can save equipment and/or save lives. As mentioned lightning is very spontaneous, it is impossible to predict where and when the next strike will be. Although, you can tell how far the lightning is away from the jobsite. There are products out on the market that can tell you if there is lighting in the area. Also, there are numerous apps found on the apple app store as well as the google play store for your smartphone device. They will notify you when lighting is near. A good rule to follow is if thunder can be heard, get into cover. It is said if you can hear thunder you are close enough to get struck. As well, can you see any lightning strikes. Lastly, if your detector indicates that lightning is within 10 miles around you, all crane operations must be suspended until 30 minutes has passed since the last strike.
If we do encounter a lightning storm, how do we protect our equipment? While equipment can be replaced if struck, I believe most of us do not want the bill that comes with it. For best practices if lightning is within 10 miles of the jobsite, the load should be landed, the boom should be lowered, and all electronics should be turned off. From this point, everyone should avoid standing around the crane. While the situation has been made safer it is still important that nobody has contact with the crane itself.
Lastly, the most important thing is making sure everyone is safe. While mentioned above equipment can be replaced, someone’s life cannot. After the load has been landed and the crane boom lowered. Everyone should head to shelter. Per NOAA, it is recommended that during a lightning storm people should take shelter in a well, fully enclosed facility. Again, the suspension should remain until it has been at least 30 minutes since the last strike.
Lightning is a serious matter. It is estimated that 24,000 people die from lightning each year. To learn more about how to protect your equipment and yourself from lightning strikes. Check out our YouTube Channel.