Resources / Severe Weather(Lightning Safety)

Lightning safety awareness is a priority at all outdoor activities and a lightning safety plan is the responsibility of each supervisor directing the activities of employees who work outdoors. No place outdoors is 100% safe from lightning. The important thing to remember is to “Anticipate a highrisk situation and move to a low-risk location.”

  1. Detection. Lightning conditions are to be monitored continuously. Resources for monitoring weather conditions can be found at the following:
    • Departments with employees who work outdoors are encouraged to get their own
      weather radio, monitor conditions and develop protocols for notifying employees of
      weather changes. Environmental Health and Safety can assist getting NOAA weather
    • Meteorology maintains a current weather website
    • Environmental Health and Safety (801) 581-6590. EHS monitors weather radio
      and maintains a real-time weather monitoring subscription service.
    • However, if thunder is heard, the danger is close enough to suspend operations and to
      seek refuge.
  2. Notification.  Suspension and resumption of work activities are planned in advance:
    • Yellow condition: 20-40 miles (30-60 km). Threat may exist.
    • Amber condition: 10-20 miles (16-30 km). Threat is nearby
    • Red alert: 0-10 miles (0-16 km). No one is permitted outdoors.
  3. Safe shelter. Safe evacuation sites include:
    • Fully enclosed all-metal vehicles
    • Permanent, substantial buildings
    • Designated metal shelters especially designed
    • Other locations as identified by ES&H personnel

Unsafe areas during thunderstorms include proximity to all metal objects, such as power poles, fences and gates, light poles, metal machinery, electrical equipment, hauling machinery, and radio equipment. Avoid rooftops. Avoid water. Avoid all open areas.

  1. Re-assess the threat. Wait until thunder is no longer heard before resuming activities. Be extra cautious during this storm phase, as the lightning danger still may be a significant hazard.
  2. Resume normal outdoor activities.
  3. Policies & procedures. Education & training. At least annually, review Utah’s lightening risks with workers and review your safety plans. June is Lightening Awareness Month.

People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and are safe to assist. Apply first aid immediately if you are qualified to do so. Get emergency help promptly. On campus, if you need an ambulance, contact University Police Dispatch at 801-585-2677.

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