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Why Do I Need Lightning Protection?

In light of recent yellow thunderstorm warnings across the UK issued by the Met Office, it is important to highlight the risks of not having Lightning Protection in the event of a lightning strike and what our teams of Lightning Specialists can do to provide you with peace of mind that you, your building, and the people inside it will be safe.

Last updated: 26/07/2021

Lightning strikes the ground over 350,000 times a year in the UK alone, and installing a Lightning Protection System is increasingly becoming a necessity for many Building Owners, Facilities Management Companies and Landlords of at-risk structures around the UK.

Between 30-60 people are struck by lightning each year in the UK, with 5-10% of those resulting in a fatality according to ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents). Lightning strikes pose significant dangers to buildings and their contents too such as fire risks and power surges – which is avoidable with the correct Lightning Protection.

Heightsafe Lightning Protection System installation in London on roof chimney

Who Needs Lightning Protection?

Several structures around the UK are at greater risk than average such as:

  • Industrial structures such as water treatment works, power distribution facilities, solar farms.
  • Medical facilities such as hospitals and care homes.
  • Historical buildings such as castles, abbeys and churches.
  • Places where large groups will gather such as shopping centres and sports facilities.
  • Buildings with a high volume of occupants – residential structures such as flats, student accommodation and commercial offices.
  • Educational buildings such as schools, colleges, universities and nurseries.

Lighting Protection System inspection heightsafe rope access facade access

In short, there are many places that are at risk due to the contents of the structure, not necessarily due to the height of the building. There is also the risk that other places in the surrounding area will be struck such as another building or a power line, and the surge can travel along connecting cables and have a damaging effect on your building.

Specialist Lightning Protection

Lightning Protection is not a legal requirement for all buildings in the UK, however there are many buildings and structures that must comply with certain HSE regulations such as COMAH 2015 and DSEAR 2012 and so must ensure they have the correct Lightning Protection in accordance with these.

COMAH 2015 (Control of Major Accident Hazards) regulations apply mainly to the chemical industry such as nuclear sites and power plants, but also to buildings that store explosive materials and other industries that meet the regulations threshold of dangerous substances.

DSEAR 2002 (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) are set out to ensure the prevention or limitation of the ‘harmful effects of fire, explosions and similar energy-releasing events and corrosion to metals’. Structures included in these regulations include places that store or deal with substances that are explosive or flammable such as petroleum and so require Lightning Protection.

To find out if you require Lightning Protection under COMAH or DSEAR regulations, contact our team of Specialists who can advise you.

What are the Risks of a Lightning Strike or Surge?

The direct strike point is not the only effect of a lightning strike, other damage can occur due to the secondary surge – or transient/ over voltage – and pose serious risks such as:

  • Death or serious injury
  • Fire
  • Loss of data/ computer systems/ equipment
  • Structural damage
  • Phone lines cut off
  • Loss of alarms
  • Damage to plumbing systems

Heightsafe’s team of expert Lightning Engineers can install Lightning Protection and Surge Protection Systems that will give you peace of mind when it comes to keeping your people, assets, and buildings safe in the event of a Lightning Storm.

Lightning Protection System Heightsafe Engineer carrying out testing and inspection

What is a Lightning Protection System?

Our Lightning Engineers will conduct a risk assessment according to the current legislation BS EN 62305:2011 and determine which class and type of Lightning Protection System is needed for your structure. Heightsafe will design and install the right system for you, taking into consideration the area and your surroundings, the height of the structure, ground type, the level of protection needed and the contents of the building.

There are four components that make up a Lightning Protection System:

  • Air Termination
  • Down Conductors
  • Earthing’s Arrangement
  • Surge Protection

Each one has a certain role to play, and a bespoke solution will be determined by our team of Lightning specialists. Our teams also provide Compliance Testing to ensure your systems are maintained, in good repair, and working as they should do. We recommend testing should be carried out every 11 months to ensure your systems are fully compliant all year round in preparation for any eventuality.

 Lightning Protection system installed by heightsafe engineers on roof


Contact Heightsafe

Don’t wait for a bolt from the blue, get in touch with our teams today for a free consultation to discuss the right Lightning Protection System for you or to book Compliance Testing. Alternatively call us on tel: 020 3819 7199.

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