Are you tracking nearby lightning strikes to keep your workers safe?

The raw power of lightning is a visceral show of nature’s wrath. For those who are exposed, whether through work or by accident, the dangers are clear: Lightning kills an average of 51 people in the U.S. per year, making it among the deadliest natural phenomena.

There’s no way to prevent lightning strikes. In the construction industry, where workers are exposed to the elements every day, it’s critical that lightning be on your radar. With GaugeConstruction from Athenium Analytics, site managers can receive near-real-time lightning alerts to monitor nearby storms and ensure your workers move to safety as soon as possible.

Lightning & construction: gauging the dangers

Understanding the dangers of lightning can help justify the steps – and costs – needed to keep your construction sites safe. Here are 9 key facts you can use to educate stakeholders on the dangers of lightning and how it can impact your projects, workers and bottom line:

  1. Lightning is only an inch in diameter (about as thick as your thumb), but it can transmit up 1 billion volts of electricity in every direct strike.
  2. Lightning does not have a temperature (it’s the channel through which electricity flows) yet the immediate air around a lightning bolt burns approx. 50,000 degrees F – that’s 5x hotter than the surface of the sun.
  3. 14 of the top 15 U.S. counties to experience lightning damage are in Florida, due to its balmy climate and proximity to the ocean; the state saw 7 lightning-related fatalities in 2018 alone.
  4. Though 90% of people can survive a lightning strike, most suffer from memory loss, dizziness, weakness, numbness, cardiac arrest and other life-altering ailments after the event.
  5. Climate change is affecting the amount of lightning we see, which increases our odds of getting struck. Today, the average person has a 1 in 12,000 chance of being struck by lightning, but those odds may increase to 1 in 8,000 by 2100.
  6. Lightning strikes the earth at speeds upwards of 270,000 mph – at that speed, it would take only 55 minutes to reach the moon.
  7. Not all lightning comes from electrical storms. A helicopter can actually trigger lightning: The negative ions produced with the rotor attract positive ions from the clouds. The transfer of the positive ions is the lightning flash.
  8. 100 lightning bolts strike the earth every second. That’s 8 million bolts per day and about 3 billion each year. Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is the most lightning-prone place in the world, experiencing 30 flashes of lightning per minute.
  9. While strikes can’t be avoided, they can be tracked. Our GaugeConstruction solution offers near-real-time lightning alerts, allowing you to track danger zones and move to safety in the event of an electrical storm. Lightning push notifications are sent directly to your mobile devices and immediately documented in the UI with the other post-event weather alerts.

Keep your team safe from lightning strikes. Learn more about GaugeConstruction or start your free 90-day trial.

Are you a member of the Associated General Contractors of America? Claim your exclusive discount on GaugeConstruction. Enter your AGC member ID when you register and receive 30% off your annual or monthly subscription.

Want to see how lightning forms? Read our infographic, “The mechanics of lightning for worksite safety”:

Infographic lightning risks for construction