“A proactive and systematic approach to lightning safety is essential to mitigate the risks to people, communities and animals posed by lightning. Data reportedly indicates that there are up to 100 lightning related fatalities each year in South Africa, with a reported probable injury rate of many times that.”
Ian McKechnie, director of specialist consulting and forensic engineers Innopro, notes this in advising that an integrated and holistic approach was essential to ensure both lightning safety of people, as well as protection of property, plant and equipment.
“An effective and properly considered lightning safety and protection plan lies at the core of this approach,” McKechnie says. “Such a plan must consider the risks, and the resultant safety and protection approach applicable to the particular situation, and must be integrated with other related plans and policies related SHEQ, OHS, maintenance and engineering, and the like, depending on the particular circumstances.” He adds that the risks to be considered are not just lightning exposure risks, but also those related to, for example, maintenance and operational factors and the consequence of non-compliance or system failure.
McKechnie says that Innopro as specialist consulting and forensic engineers, and not contractors, the group was often able to include the client’s own personnel and contractors in implementing the solution, thereby ensuring knowledge transfer and ownership of the implementation, as well as effective use of existing resources. “This can have huge benefits in terms of ongoing maintenance and integrity of the solution.”