Ontivity Resources


New Braunfels, TX, June 5, 2024


Thunderstorms can bring powerful winds, intense rainfall, tornadoes, lightning strikes, and damaging hail  Thunderstorms and lightning are most likely to develop on hot, humid days and can be very dangerous to construction workers.  In 2023 the United States experienced 28 separate weather or climate disasters that resulted in an approximate $301 billion dollars in loss and repairs, and sadly 492 people losing their lives.  Just last week many metropolitan areas endured severe hailstorms, high winds, and abnormal amounts of rainfall in short periods of time.  These elements caused damage to buildings, fleet vehicles, and knocked out power to a few of our local offices.  Thunderstorms can be sometimes unpredictable, and a lack of preparation can lead to dangerous conditions for our workforce. But we can take action to prepare.  Preparing now can protect you, your crew and viable gear and equipment.  Let’s look at three key points for your safety during a thunderstorm.

  • Stay attuned to the weather forecast
  • Take shelter in the presence of thunder and lightning
  • Always remain aware of your surroundings


Week after week, we discuss having a plan to keep everyone safe.  Pre storm preparedness is no different.  Each day, someone on the crew should be tasked with looking up the weather forecast for that day and to periodically check for changing conditions throughout the work shift.  If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, it should be notated on your JHA, and the safety plan should be discussed during the daily tailgate meeting.  The plan should indicate when and where workers will take shelter during the storm.  Each crew member should know where that shelter is and the best means to access and egress after the storm.  Keeping additional provisions in your vehicle such as fresh water and simple snacks are a good idea for those cases where you could be stuck for an extended period. The use of alerts from weather apps is a good way to stay abreast of changing conditions due to the unpredictability of weather conditions.  Find an app that will help you identify how close lightning strikes are so you can make an informed decision of when to remove workers from situations with increased risks of lightning strikes.


There is an old saying “When thunder roars, go indoors”. This is since lighting is a dangerous biproduct of thunderstorms.  Lightning is unpredictable and can strike outside the heaviest rainfall areas or even up to 10 miles away from any rainfall. Many lightning victims are caught outside during a storm because they did not act promptly to get to a safe place, or they go back outside too soon after a storm has passed. If there are signs of an approaching thunderstorm, workers should not begin any task that they cannot quickly stop if they need to get to safety.  A building is a safe shelter if you are not in contact with anything that can conduct electricity like electrical equipment or cords.  Do not lean against concrete walls or floors which may have metal bars inside.  If workers are caught outside during a thunderstorm with no safe place to take cover you must remember that lightning is likely to strike the tallest objects in each area—you should not be the tallest object. Avoid isolated tall trees, hilltops, utility poles, cell phone towers, cranes, large equipment, ladders, scaffolding, and rooftops.  IF there is just no other safe place you can seek shelter in hard-topped metal vehicles with the windows rolled up.  Always remain in your shelter/vehicle until the warnings have cleared and it can be deemed safe to exit.


As mentioned, before exiting your shelter make sure it is safe to do so.  Listen for wind, precipitation and in some cases the audible announcements from tornado sirens.  Text messages, social media and word of mouth are important to get the word out about the conditions of an area and provide a firsthand assessment.  Check your surrounding area for damage.  Avoid fallen power lines, poles and other wires.  They should be reported to the power company immediately.   Low lying areas may have become flooded with unforeseen quick water movement.  If possible, move to higher ground.  Be mindful of broken glass from vehicles and buildings.  If a traveled road or exit has become blocked, do not attempt to drive over or remove it without first knowing the cause and effect of doing so.     

Today’s topics are just a few precautions we can take to better prepare ourselves for a thunderstorm.  There are a variety of thunderstorms that each have their own challenges to be aware of.  Staying informed and having a plan will give you greater confidence during any of these storms.

If you would like more information on this topic or any other safety-related topic, please reach out to the Ontivity safety team at safety@ontivity.com, and we will get you taken care of. 

1820 Watson Lane East, New Braunfels, Texas 78130, United States

(830) 302-2330

© 2024 Ontivity - All Rights Reserved.