Managing lightning risks in hazardous locations

By IS McKechnie, IR Jandrell, Innopro


Published in:

Electricity+Control, April 2014 (pages 4-6)

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Read the full article on Managing lightning risks in hazardous locations in PDF format.


There are particular challenges with respect to lightning safety and protection in hazardous locations. These challenges relate to both direct and indirect human safety as well as to the risks posed to plant and equipment and to the consequential effects of damage. Compounding these challenges and risks is the fact that many of the applications and environments where these hazardous locations are situated are complex in nature.

As a result, managing lightning risks effectively in relation to hazardous locations is particularly important, and this emphasises the need to manage them coherently, holistically and effectively through a structured engineering approach.
Some of the pertinent issues that need to be addressed in designing and implementing effective and comprehensive lightning safety and protection solutions include the following:

• Ensuring appropriate techniques and solutions are implemented in a systematic, structured and holistic manner. This includes avoiding ‘blind adherence’ to legacy techniques

• Following a holistic approach and not focusing only on specific aspects (for example, on just the external lightning protection system (ELPS) or just on surge protective devices (SPDs) etc)

• Ensuring proper maintenance throughout the solution life cycle (and the various support actions required to facilitate this)

• Ensuring adequate management visibility and insight, to ensure a proper appreciation of the risks and measures and hence to ensure that the necessary technical, operational and financial support is available

• Ensuring coordination across operational and technical departments, including proper change management


Take note

  • Managing lightning risks effectively in relation to hazardous locations is important.
  • Different aspects of lightning safety and protection are interrelated.
  • A properly designed lightning safety protection system can limit damage, loss of life or injury.