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News July 9, 2024

Prioritizing the safety and health of outdoor workers amid lightning and wildfires

As thunderstorms and wildfires increasingly occur, they can seriously affect the safety of roofing workers. Employers need to be prepared by ensuring their emergency action plans are up to date.

During peak roofing season, frequent thunderstorms heighten lightning risks for roofing workers. Put the following practices in place to protect roofing workers.

  • Avoid storms: Stop work and clear the roof at the first sign of a storm.
  • Educate workers: Teach warning signs of lightning threats and first-aid for lightning injuries.
  • Seek shelter: Use enclosed vehicles or large buildings for safety.
  • Develop procedures: Create formal plans for handling lightning events.

Wildfires also are becoming an increasingly significant concern for roofing worker safety. They create a range of hazards, including flames, intense heat, smoke and poor air quality. Consider the following practices to keep workers safe.

  • Monitor fire conditions: Regularly check local fire reports and weather forecasts.
  • Practice evacuation plans: Ensure all workers can safely leave in an emergency.
  • Provide protective gear: Supply heat-resistant clothing, masks and respirators.
  • Educate workers: Teach wildfire risks and safety procedures.
  • Establish chain of command: Designate emergency roles and functions.
  • Create safety zones: Keep areas around the job site free of combustible materials.

To learn more about this topic or other workplace safety-related topics, visit NRCA’s safety webpage. Members also are encouraged to access NRCA’s toolbox talks for additional training resources to help educate workers.

More information about preparing for natural disasters can be found on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Preparedness and Response page

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