Lightning and power surges

Lightning strikes and power surges can cause extensive damage to electrical equipment and essential machinery, as well as cause data loss. 

Lightning strikes the earth 20 million times each year, starting fires and causing property damage through power surges.

It’s important to understand that your building does not itself have to be struck by lightning. The strike can be some distance away and your equipment still affected.

  • Assess how your business premises might be damaged or disrupted if they were to be affected by a lightning strike, particularly in relation to computer and telecommunication systems. This will enable you to decide what protection measures are required.

    - Our business impact assessment tool may help with the assessment by giving an idea of how long it would take for the business to recover should the premises be impacted by lightning or a power surge.
  • Keep back-up data in different locations so that in the aftermath of an incident involving corruption or loss you can return to ‘business as usual’ far more quickly than otherwise.

    - Review our guidance about data management for more tips about this.
  • Consider a structural lightning protection system (LPS) and Surge Protection Measures (SPM) by means of an LEMP Protection Measures System (LPMS) if you decide that your premises are at significant risk from lightning or associated power surges.
  • Make sure any LPMS you get is designed, installed and maintained in accordance with BS EN 62305 by a specialist lightning protection contractor.
  • Protective earthing for electrical installations should be done in accordance with the BS 7430 code of practice.
  • Think about whether it would be appropriate for workers to be equipped with portable surge protectors, or their equipment modified (following manufacturer’s guidance) to include in-built surge protection – particularly where they’re working on third party’s sites.
  • Ensure all work at height involved in the installation or maintenance of a lightning/surge protection system is done safely and with all duties outlined in the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) met, regardless of whether it’s an employee or third party contractor carrying out the work.
Find information on regulations that you and your business may need to comply with.
 
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Lightning and power surges need to be considered for a number of elements in your business’s risk management strategy, such as:
Get more information about protecting your electrical installations and electronics against lightning and power surges through these websites: