Complacency, unfortunately, is often the norm when it comes to the public’s attitude toward lightning strikes and lightning safety issues. Basic lightning safety guidelines can and do save lives. Following are a few simple precautions that can be taken in order to keep safe throughout the stormy months.
- Stand clear from windows, doors and electrical appliances.
- Do not attempt to unplug TVs, stereos, computers, etc. during a storm.
- Avoid contact with piping including sinks, baths and faucets.
- Do not use the telephone except for emergencies.
- Look for a shelter equipped with a lightning protection system.
- Never use a tree as a shelter.
- Avoid areas that are higher than the surrounding landscape.
- Keep away from metal objects including bikes, golf carts, fencing, machinery, etc.
- Avoid standing near tall objects.
- Immediately get out and away from pools, lakes and other bodies of water.
- If you’re in a crowd—spread out.
- If you feel a tingling sensation, or your hair stands on end, lightning may be about to strike! Immediately crouch down and cover your ears. Do not lie down or place your hands on the ground.
- Victims of lightning strikes should be administered CPR immediately.
Rig equipment can be protected from lightning strikes by grounding the equipment. Rig equipment grounding can be accomplished by the use of cable and driven electrodes. The derrick (mast) substructure, metal buildings, toolpusher and or crew bunk house (trailer house), stationary electrical equipment, fuel tanks, and other equipment around the rig where electrical equipment should be grounded. Grounding can be accomplished by the following actions:
- A ground rod driven in the ground and attached to the skid(s) by a conductor. The rod should be driven as close as possible to the low wet areas to achieve desired grounding. They should be at least eight feet (2.4 meters) long and ¾” (1.9cm) in diameter. If rock is encountered the rod can be driven in at 45 degrees from vertical. At times the ground can be too hard to drive a rod in. In this case the rod can be buried in a trench that is at least 30 inches (76.2 CM) deep and cover with 3/32” layer of salt then back fill with native dirt.
- A ground (earth) rod should be driven at each building (toolpusher house, crew bunk house, generator house, etc.). Some companies drive a ground rod at the substructure. If there is concern about the ground connections between the equipment skids and generator house, additional ground rods may be necessary.
- The use of bare copper conductor or braided wire, sized not less than 2/0 AWG connected between all electric motors and the building or skid. All buildings or skids should be interconnected with the same size connector.
- Bond all skids and auxiliary equipment together to form a “loop” type system, whenever possible, so that the continuity of the grounding circuit will be maintained even if one conductor is severed.
- Grounding connections on skids should be rust-proof (stainless steel bolts are recommended).
Rig crew personnel should ensure that the grounding connections are attached and checked periodically while on location.