Tag Archives: side flashing

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.


10 Questions to Assess Your Need for Lightning Protection

Most people are unaware that lightning strikes are one of the leading weather-related Lightning Protection 5causes of death in the world. Lightning can warm the air by 27,700 degrees, five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Did you know you can get struck by lightning 16 km’s away, even when there is not a cloud in the sky? There are approximately 100 lightning strikes each second (6000 per minute) that occurs throughout the world, each carrying up to 30,000 amps of current. Each year in Australia, more than 100 people are injured, with an average of 10 fatalities due to lightning strikes. No one can predict the exact location of each will strike or when it will occur.

We can control the implementation of lightning protection systems where necessary. A good system like the one determined by Erico’s 6 Point plan captures the lightning strikes and transfers the energy to a dependable path to earth. The energy then dissipates in the earth to prevent harm to structures or individuals.

It is possible to use broad guidelines to develop protection required by assessing the known risks of lightning and determine the level of lightning protection (LP) needed for these unexpected strikes.

10 Fundamentally Critical Factors to Assess your Need for LP
1. What is the risk to personnel? 

The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is about 1 in 12,000

Precautions should be taken to prevent worker exposure to lightning. Employers recognise lightning as an occupational hazard and take lightning safety seriously. Locations where personnel risk are high include mine sites, factories, schools, churches, sporting facilities, and hospitals.

2. What is the risk of equipment or structural damage? 

Direct or indirect strikes from Lightning can cause severe electrical-related damage by fire, surge and shock wave damage. Direct strikes cause serious damage to framework, communications, air-conditioning and other exterior structures. Indirect damage is caused by the current traveling by electric grids or through utility lines and resulting in serious damage to electronics, equipment and data.

3. What are the consequential problems of such failure? 

For a business the level of damage caused through direct or indirect strikes can be devastating. It is not only the costly repairs that need to be considered but the downtime, loss of information and data, ability to service the client, production down time and the brands reputation to market.

4. Is the equipment associated with an essential or public service? 

A vital consideration is assets associated with an essential or high-risk service. Services such as railroads, hospitals, airports, and public utilities, must look beyond their own initiatives to consider the public that would be affected by interruptions.

5. What is the potential revenue loss in the time required to restore services? 

Lightning protection systems can prevent detrimental, avoidable downtime and costly repairs. Industries such as mining, manufacturing and essential services could have an immense cost associated to downtime. The investment associated with protecting an asset from lightning strike is a fraction of the potential direct and indirect revenue loss incurred by not being prepared.

6. Does the structure have historical value? 

The historical value of a structure can be priceless depending on the significance of theLightning Protection structure. The possibility of a lightning strike to the structure of a building is around 1:500. Damage is caused by the explosive expansion of air heated to around 30,000ºC, by the ignition of dust, and by flying debris. Electrical circuits may also be damaged by the electro-magnetic field generated.

7. What are the legal implications of providing inadequate protection?

Some industries or assets in some geographical locations, are legally required to provide a certain level of lightning protection. Mining, aviation and essential services have strict lightning protection guidelines. This is a major factor to considering liabilities associated with duty of care.

8. Does the structure or building contain explosive or flammable environments?

Many industries use highly flammable or explosive materials. Fire is a major concern with lightning strikes, adding unstable material to a direct strike or side flashing can be a cocktail for disaster.

9. Can side flashing cause damage to essential electronics?

Electronics are inherently susceptible to lightning strikes in the form of indirect damage. Lightning Strikes Man 1Be aware of electronics that are important and/or vulnerable to damage. A companies file server, for example, is a focal point of most business’ everyday operations. When the file server is incapacitated due to a lightning strike, the operations of an entire company may go down.

10. Will the discharge result in the corona phenomena causing disastrous power surges?

The corona phenomena is an electrical discharge brought on by the ionisation of a fluid such as air surrounding a conductor that is electrically charged.  Corona can create an audible noise that can interfere with communications and cause damage to conductors, transformers and other vital electronics.

Judge the Risks of Lightning-Associated Damage

We have all heard that prevention is better than the cure. The investment in lightning protection is only a fraction of the expense, cost and inconvenience of being unprepared.

Determining the level of lightning protection appropriate for each situation is not always simple. Consider the safety issues, costs and potential damage associated with lightning if you do not have a proper protection system.

These ten questions should help you get started evaluating your potential need for lightning protection.

To help you with direction and advice on lightning protection, refer to WAPP lightning protection experts. They will guide you through the potential need for lightning protection, risk, and more.

For more information on innovations and current lightning protection products, systems and design support click Here or please call (West Australian Power Protection) WAPP on

(08) 9353 5300 or email wapp1@wapp.com.au