Protecting Your Workers from Lightning


Storm hazards are also occupational hazards. The keys to protecting your workers are planning and preparation. PMA Companies shares how to help keep your workers safe from lightning.

Lightning — Workplace Hazard

Lightning is often overlooked as a workplace hazard. According to the National Weather Service, there were 19 lightning fatalities in 2022. Among the key hazards with lightning storms are victims caught outside during a storm or going back outside too soon after a storm has passed.

Start by Developing a Lightning Safety Plan

Assess Your Hazards

Do you manage lifeguards, sporting events, playgrounds, farms? Who could be injured? Where are workers at certain times of day? At minimum, your plan should include the following steps:

  • Be weather aware! Inform supervisors and workers to act quickly after hearing thunder, seeing lightning, or perceiving other warning signs of approaching thunderstorms.
  • Indicate how you will notify workers about lightning safety warnings (e.g., text messages, loudspeakers, app).
  • Identify Safe Shelter requirements, including expected response times for workers to shelter.
  • Specify approaches for determining when to suspend outdoor work and when to resume.
  • Account for the time required to evacuate customers and the public, and time needed for workers to reach safety.

Create Awareness

Educate employees, managers, facility maintenance, etc., on the importance of pre-planning and weather awareness. No place is safe outside when thunderstorms are in the area. Ensure your workers understand the following:

  • If you hear thunder, lighting is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to a safe shelter, such as:
    • A substantial building with electricity or plumbing
    • An enclosed metal topped vehicle with windows up
  • Once you are indoors, do the following:
    • Stay off corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment that you put in direct contact with electricity
    • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths, and faucets
    • Stay away from windows and doors and stay off porches
    • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls, as they may have metal reinforcements
  • Stay in the safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder

Next Steps

Resources to help keep your workers safe with education and training: Lightning_400

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your local PMA Risk Control Consultant or reach out to us at

The information and suggestions presented by PMA Companies in this risk control technical bulletin are for your consideration in your loss prevention efforts. They are not intended to be complete or definitive in identifying all hazards associated with your business, preventing workplace accidents, or complying with any safety related or other laws or regulations. You are encouraged to alter the information and suggestions to fit the specific hazards of your business and to have your legal counsel review all of your plans and company policies. PMA Companies and Old Republic Companies do not provide legal advice and the information and suggestions in this bulletin should not be considered as such.