The UAB Department of Occupational Health & Safety's mission is to ensure that our customers have a safe workplace by providing them with the service and knowledge necessary to protect themselves, the UAB community, and the environment.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week

"What is the likelihood that I will be struck by lightning?" UAB Emergency Management is asked this question often.

The fact is that the annual per capita strike rate in the United States is around 1 in 600,000, and there are 7.7 casualties per million people per 100 million flashes. The odds are not great! However, this can vary depending on where you are, what the climate is like, and what your exposure happens to be. In Alabama, thunderstorms are more common than in areas along the Pacific coast so the chances of being struck are greater here than there.

Lightning does not make a thunderstorm severe. By definition, every thunderstorm has lightning in it. Lightning is one of the most dangerous aspects of a thunderstorm and can strike up to 10 miles away from the main area of the storm. If you can hear the thunder you are at risk of being struck by lightning. Because of this the National Weather Service has adopted the motto, "when thunder roars, go indoors". Remember to stay there for at least 30 after the last clap of thunder.

The National Weather Service provides educational information for each day of Lightening Safety Awareness Week:

The following video provides an excellent source of information.

Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC)

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) closely monitors what is and is not allowed into the sewers and surface waters. any UAB employee working with oil is required to complete training on Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC). The ES001: Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC) course is designed to teach those working with petroleum products and waste, how to:
  • Properly handle and store petroleum products
  • Properly dispose of waste in compliance with ADEM regulations
  • Respond to spills
  • Report spills to the appropriate entity

More information on SPCC training >>

National Hurricane Preparedness Week

As you kick off your summer the last thing that you are probably thinking is - hurricanes! The name alone strikes fear in the minds of many folks living along the Gulf coast.

However, even though Birmingham is 300 miles inland from the coast, we can still have very severe weather attributed to hurricanes. A group of scientists from Georgia Tech looked at tropical cyclones from 1920 to 2008 and found that there has been a 35 percent increase in storm sizes compared to the previous period of active storms which was 1948–1964. This has lead to a doubling of tornados produced per storm. Hurricane Katrina alone produced 58 observed tornados directly attributed to the storm!

As you start your summer, plan ahead for hurricane season.