June 3, 2019
Working outdoors can be a thoroughly rewarding experience. In Indianapolis, we’ve got no shortage of jobs that require partial or total outside work: construction, shipping, waste disposal, grounds maintenance and more. Working outside means a constant supply of sun and fresh air, but it also carries its fair share of risks. Roadside workers and delivery drivers constantly face the issue of distracted drivers, and every outdoor occupation has to grapple with the elements themselves.
This time of year in the Hoosier state, lightning strikes are a more extreme example of facing nature’s temperamental streak. If a freak incident occurs and you are struck by lightning on the job, you may still eligible for workers compensation and can take steps to ensure you get what you deserve.
OSHA and Outdoor Work
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has wide-ranging sets of standards for the myriad workplaces that make up the United States’ occupational infrastructure, and those standards naturally extend to outdoor positions.
In accordance with OSHA and other labor laws, your employer is obligated to inform you of the risks you’re assuming as someone who works outside. Say you’re a groundskeeper on a golf course. Such an open environment, with its expanses exposed to the sky, poses a lightning strike risk should the weather turn sour.
As such, your employer must take steps to ensure you are informed and aware of the lightning hazard. If they don’t, and you’re injured as a result, then your employer could potentially be at fault for your injury.
What if There’s No Responsible Party?
It’s easy to categorize lightning strikes and other acts of nature as something entirely out of your (and your employer’s) control. Since that’s the case, does an act of nature—a scenario with no responsible party other than an unfortunate incident of “Wrong time, wrong place”—still entitle you to workers compensation?
Most of the time, yes, it does.
Workers compensation is a no-fault system, meaning an accountable third party doesn’t always have to be present. It’s meant to reimburse you for injuries or illnesses that occurred while you were on the job..
If you weren’t working on a roof at the same time lightning struck, you likely would not have received your injury. If you weren’t evacuating swimmers from a pool while the storm rolled in, a lightning strike likely would not have been an issue.
But, as with all workers compensation cases, it’s important to inform your employer of your injury and any immediate medical attention you sought before beginning the workers compensation process.
Help from an Indiana Workers Compensation Lawyer
Working outside in the heat of summer should be a rewarding and invigorating experience. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to a lightning strike or another act of nature, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your worker’s compensation claim.