Performing Electrical Service Or Repair During Thunderstorms

Night lightning

Whether you are working for a general or electrical contractor or want to replace a broken light bulb in the middle of a lightning storm, the best advice anyone will give you is not to do it at all. However, you may not always be able to avoid working during a storm or when stormy conditions are present.

In Utah, after avalanches, thunderstorms remain the top nature-induced cause of death, as per the National Lightning Safety Institute. This means that electricians and electrical contractors in Utah need to be particularly aware of the safety techniques that they can adopt to ensure a safe work environment, including all the static electricity that is present.

This article will take a closer look at the precautions you should take when performing electrical service or repair during lightning or stormy conditions.

Performing Electrical Service & Repair During Storms Safely

The most important factor to keep in mind when performing electrical service or repair during a thunderstorm is never to work alone. Always have a ‘spotter’ armed with the necessary insulating tools to pull you away in case of an emergency.

Consider How Close The Storm Is

You must keep an eye on the storm while working. Key factors to consider include:

  1. Is the storm close?
  2. Is the storm splitting?
  3. How many cells are there, and how likely is it to hit the ground near you?
  4. Is the storm breaking up?
  5. Is the lightning far up in the sky or near the ground?
  6. Where is the storm’s center, and how far are you from it?

The path of an incoming thunder is rather easy to spot, but even if it moves parallel to where you are and is at a distance, know that thunderstorms can change directions.

If in doubt or if you feel particularly vulnerable at any point, it is okay to take a break and back off.

Make Yourself Less of A Target

If you have no other option but to continue, try to reduce the risk of a direct strike as much as possible. To do this:

  1. Drop all metal that you have, including the screws and car keys, in your pocket
  2. Don’t pile metal objects near you
  3. Avoid standing near exposed rebar
  4. Stay away from electrical contractors.
  5. Try to use completely insulating tools
  6. Avoid the use of power tools
  7. Get as low as you can while working. Lightning will look for the path of least resistance – even if it’s you. This path is usually the tallest object around.
  8. If possible, try to have a shelter above you, even if it is just a tarp.

It is never safe to work during lightning storms but when there is no other option, consider calling professionals who have extensive experience working under different environmental conditions – even extreme ones.

Skyline Electric has over 60 years of experience under its belt. You can always rely on our electrical contractors to help you find the safest way to work. Give us a quick call and let us help you with any electrical service or repair you may need – no matter how extensive the project!