How Workers Can Avoid Lightning Accidents in Florida
Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but all that sunshine comes at a price that can affect its workers. According to AccuWeather, while the state of Florida averages fourth in the nation for lightning flashes, more people are struck and killed by lightning in Florida than in any other state. This is largely attributable to the fact that so many people are able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine here year-round.
Employers often push employees to make the most of favorable weather but because Florida’s weather can also create the perfect conditions for lightning, workers should understand the potential dangers of working outside during a Florida thunderstorm. Local 10 News recently reported that OSHA has cited a Parkland farm for failing to protect its workers after a lightning strike injured three workers. The farm workers were reportedly picking vegetables during inclement weather conditions when one person was killed and two others were injured. Authorities stipulated that the results of this workplace tragedy would have been different had the farm owner trained the farm and employees for working in severe weather conditions. OSHA fined the farm the maximum amount allowed for failing to provide a hazard-free workplace and more importantly, the lives of the injured workers are forever changed – especially for the worker that lost his and the family that will never see him again.
The silver lining of this is that workers are entitled to obtain workers’ compensation for a lightning-related injury that was incurred at work during the course of employment just as with any other workplace injury.
Which Workers Have the Highest Risks in Florida?
Any worker who spends extensive amounts of a workday outside is inadvertently risking exposure to a lightning-related injury. These kinds of occupations include:
- Utility repair and measuring
- Farming, agriculture, and field labor
- Telecommunications installation
What Are Safety Tips for Those Who Work in High Risk Occupations?
Fortunately, there are safety measures you can implement even if you work in a high risk occupation such as:
- Checking the forecast before leaving your house. This is the best way to prepare for the weather. In addition to ensuring that your clothing matches the weather and can give you the best protection against heat-related injuries, this will also alert you to potential thunderstorms.
- Using your senses. If you hear thunder or see a darkening sky, you should immediately move to safety as you should understand that lightning follows thunder and can be close enough to strike you even if you cannot see it.
- Following the safety instructions. You should understand your employer’s severe weather policies and attempt to comply with provided training.
- Seek shelter. The best thing for you to do in severe weather is to wait out the storm inside a building. Make sure that you move away from elevated areas and never attempt to use a tree as shelter during a storm.
Have You Or a Loved One Been Injured at Work During a Storm?
We understand the challenges offered by difficult cases involving serious injuries and complex issues and can help you ensure that you obtain all the benefits you are entitled to while you focus on restoring your health. The experienced Miami workers’ compensation attorneys at Payer & Associates will help ensure that you maximize your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. Begin by contacting us today to schedule a free consultation.