Tag Archives: Lightning Protection System

Lightning proofing for increased personnel safety and productivity at Roy Hill

Towards the end of 2016, Roy Hill Iron Ore (RHIO) identified that lightning storms during the lightning season posed a risk to personnel safety which in turn affected productivity with constant work stoppages during red alerts.

RHIO commenced discussions with West Australian Power Protection (WAPP) to work out a way to mitigate these risks. In mid-2017, RHIO gained support from management to proceed with the project.

Risks and Measures Identified

Camps – there is a safety issue with human nature and personnel transiting during red Dynasphere3alert grade conditions. Management have instructed that all corridors are to be made safe for personnel during red alert conditions. Bus shelters and car parks are also to be made safe for on load / offloading from vehicles.

Mine site – it must be safe to on load / offload from vehicles and near structures where maintenance is to be carried out during red alerts.  It must also be safe to repair electrical and controls equipment at the top of the main structures and deal with blockages.

Port area – it must also be safe to on load / offload from vehicles at the workshops and near structures where maintenance is to be carried out during red alerts.  It must also be safe to repair electrical and controls equipment at the top of the main structures and deal with blockages. In addition, special lightning arrest measures must be installed along the wharf areas.

Rail – the rail workshop to be made safe for all work to continue during red alerts, including dealing with the possibility if a lightning strike up rail and down rail from the workshop. All other measures around buildings and car-parks to be the same as for Mine, Port and Camps.

Upgraded lightning protection across the business will also reduce equipment damage due to unguided lightning strikes that hit anywhere and often travel along control and instrument wiring, causing equipment damage in the process.


With the lightning season officially starting on November 1st, time was of essence. ERICO’s proprietary System3000 Dynasphere Lightning Protection System (LPS) was Dynasphere Air Terminal, MKIVchosen to be installed in most areas for its technically advanced system. These were mounted on poles ranging from 8m-25m tall, some on buildings whilst others on 40m towers.

The main benefits include:

  1. Offer a larger radius of coverage, thus reducing installation costs (i.e. fewer poles are required to be erected);
  2. Offer a more controlled capture of the lightning strike to a preferred point by producing a lightning upleader; &
  3. the ERICORE insulated down conductor cable is purpose designed, which acts to eliminate side flashing of the lightning energy to the structure or nearby equipment ensuring its safe conduction to earth. A low impedance designed insulated down conductor ensures the lightning energy can be safely contained within the conductor over greater lengths.


Where poles and catenary wires are employed as part of the lightning protection system design, all poles were fitted with ERICO’s Aluminium Air Terminals (Franklin Rods) which are very cost-effective.



WAPP worked very closely with ERICO and Powerlines Plus (main contractors on the project) to design, procure and install the LPS in a very tight timeframe to ensure that the bulk of critical locations would be completed before the lightning season. From day one, all parties collaborated very closely at RHIO’s offices and WAPP/ERICO proactively offered training to key staff on installation. Products were flown in ahead of schedule to avoid any delays in delivery to site.

With the tight timeframe, made more challenging with the bulk quantity of specialised products required, some with long lead time, through close coordination and strong communication between all parties, the project was completed according to schedule.

This LPS for RHIO could be used as a model for other mine sites or any facility to ensure thehighest standards of personnel protection from lightning strikes at all times. Not only are risks of injury to personnel mitigated, but productivity of the facility can improve significantly with superior LPS in place.


Need to Know Lightning Protection Systems

What is the Lightning Protection Systems LPS?

A Lighting Protection System (LPS) is the system that provides a means by which a LP1      lightning discharge may enter or leave earth without passing through and damaging personnel, electrical equipment, and structures such as buildings.

A Lightning Protection System does not prevent lightning from striking. It provides a means for controlling energy and prevents damage by providing a low resistance path for the lightning.

A reliable Lightning Protection System LPS must encompass both structural and transient overvoltage (Surge Protection) protection.

Optimal Lightning Protection System

The Six Point Plan of Protection is designed to minimize the risk of damage to facilities through:

  • Direct Strike Protection
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Surge and Over-voltage Transient Protection

The Six Point Plan of Protection from is designed by ERICO to:

  • Capture the lightning strike to a preferred attachment point
  • Convey this energy to ground via a downconductor.
  • Dissipate energy into a low impedance grounding system
  • Bond all ground points to eliminate ground loops and create an equipotential plane
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming power lines
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming telecommunications
Why Use the Lightning Protection Systems LPS?

Lightning protection is essential for the protection of humans, structures, and electrical equipment by controlling a variety of risks resulting from thermal, mechanical, and electrical hazards of the lightning flash current. These risks can be categorised as follows:

  1. Risk to persons,
    1. Direct flash,
    2. Step potential,
    3. Touch potential,
    4. Side flash.
  2. Risk to structures & internal equipment.
    1. Fire and/or explosion triggered by heat of lightning flash
    2. Fire and/or explosion triggered by ohmic heating of conductors
    3. Punctures of structure roofing due to lightning point of strike,
    4. Failure of internal electrical and electronic systems,
    5. Mechanical damage including dislodged materials at point of strike.
What is an Effective Lightning Protection System?

The effective lightning protection system which eliminates risks must be designed to:

  • Intercept lightning flash (i.e. create a preferred point of strike),
  • Conduct the strike to ground safely through purpose designed down conductors,
  • Dissipate the lightning energy into the ground with minimum rise in ground potential,
  • Eliminate ground loops and hazardous potential differentials
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming power lines
  • Protect equipment from surges and transients on incoming telecommunications
  • Not cause thermal or mechanical damage to the structure,
  • Not cause sparking which may cause fire or explosion,
  • Limit step and touch voltages to control the risk of injury to occupants.
Standards for Lightning Protection System

The lightning protection standard is usually developed by a technical committee comprising of academics, experts and industry practitioners who areLP2 knowledgeable in the field and are responsible for ensuring that the LPS to are scientifically validated and proven.

The existing lightning protection standard in:

  • Australia/NZ is the AS/NZS 1768,
  • International is the IEC-61024, BS6651 (United Kingdom),
  • NFPA780 (USA),
  • CP33 (Singapore).
Types of Lightning Protection Systems (LPS)

Lightning protection systems for buildings and installations may be divided into three principal types:

  1. LPS for Protection for buildings and installations against direct strike by lightning,
  2. LPS for Protection against overvoltage on incoming conductors and conductor systems,
  3. LPS for Protection against the electromagnetic pulse of the lightning.

Each system’s design requires:

  • The strike termination device must be positioned at the highest point on the structure.
  • The lightning protection system must be solidly and permanently grounded.
This type of Lightning Protection Systems can be divided into:LP3

Conventional lightning protection system (Also known as “Passive or Traditional)

  1. Franklin Rod LPS A lightning rod, air terminal or a single mast will help prevent lightning from striking in the immediate vicinity. The lightning rod is a metallic capture tip placed at the top of the building. It is earthed by one or more conductors.
  2. The lightning rod with taut wires These wires are stretched above the protectedLP4 structure. They are used to protect special structures: rocket launching areas, military applications and protection of high-voltage overhead lines
  3. Franklin/Faraday Cage LPS This protection involves placing numerous down LP5conductors/tapes symmetrically all around the building. This type of lightning protection system is used for highly exposed buildings housing very sensitive installations such as computer rooms.



Non-Conventional lightning protection system – All ERITECH Isolated Downconductor system components meet the requirements of IEC 62305 series and appropriate products are tested in compliance with EN50164-1 and EN 50164-2.

  1. Dynasphere S3000 insulated system The ERICO Dynasphere air terminal providesLP6 optimal lightning capture to a preferred point for lightning discharges which would otherwise strike and damage an unprotected structure and/or its contents. Also known as an active system as it has a Dynamic response to the approach of a lightning down-leader
  2. ISODC Communications insulated system The ERITECH isolated system providesLP7 a traditional air terminal fitted to an isolated fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) mast. The isolated downconductor internally connects to the air terminal inside the FRP. The FRP mast has natural isolation properties, high strength for windy sites and low weight to minimize mast loading.



There are various lightning protection systems fit for purpose that can offer:

  • More cost effective in supply and installation
  • Less variables of installation and ease of application
  • Greater protection and performance
  • Minimal effects on visual and structure

West Australian Power Protection (WAPP) are the industry experts in Lightning, Surge and Grounding Protection.

WAPP will provide you direction for the best performance and most cost-effective solution that suits your project requirements.

Call us on (08) 9451 2199 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au for a FREE no obligation consultation and quote.