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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,787

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    Actually a grounding system would encourage a lightning strike. That is why I always joke with friends about me paying for for a lightning control system for my neighbors house. I want it to hit them, not me.

    Very often a building requires a separate ground, for electrical, and telecom
    Sorry, but there is only one legally acceptable grounding system (grounding electrode system) allowed for the electrical service and the telecom is tied into that. There are different methods of providing the grounding system but it its legally required and the requirements are spelled out in the National Electrical Code.

    They had had a previous lightening strike, so they knew they had a grounding problem which is very common
    .wrong. actually a good ground would encourage a lightning strike. An insulated object is safest but with lightning, it is impossible to be so well insulated that it would prevent a strike (talking about buildings here)

    Many buildings have plastic pipes which insulate or moisture barriers that compromise grounding
    Makes no difference. The grounding electrode system that is legally mandated by the NEC is not affected by either of those.

    Technicians installing equipment are supposed to test the grounding before installing it is such a major problem
    Actually, no they are not unless there is a local code requiring such. I don;t know where in Indiana the poster is but Indiana in general is quite lax about code in general. There are parts of the state that do not even require an electrical inspection of a building (scary thought). As well, the Natioanal Electrical Code does not require testing of an grounding electrode system as long as it is intalled per the NEC (chapter 250 covers it).

    Ground straps are for ESD, not lightning.
    Correct BUT the fact they are electrically conductive devices and they are attached to something that is attached to the buildings grounding electrode system makes the wearer a part of the grounding system of the building and as such, more probable to be a point of contact for the lightning. As I said before, lightning plays by its' own rules. We as humans have not been able to control it nearly as well as we would like to.

    When I was in 5th grade we were on the second floor of a brick school house, on a warm rainy day the window was open and all of a sudden BOOM! lightening struck a vacant desk and left a black spot the size of a pea, smoldering, so it does happen.
    I agree. It happens more than most would like to know. It is difficult to determine why lightning strike a particular object. It often has no rational explanation.

    The fact that a building hs been struck by lightning does not mean it has any sort of grounding problems. As proof, ever see a tree get hit or one that was hit? Guess what, a tree is about as good as you get for grounded objects. It is full of water and it is in the ground where there is moisture (or it's not going to grow there). They get hit all the time. As I stated before, the fact that a building was hit means the lightning did find a ground source through the building. Lightning seeks a ground source.

    What a lightning protection system does is atttempt to direct the lightning strike when it happens. It by no means is meant to prevent the lightning strike. If you figure out how to do that, you will be an instant millionaire. NASA would love to know how to prevent them as well as every airline in the world.

    If you can find support for your theory of required lightning protection systems on a building, I would like to see them. If you remember, I am in construction and deal with this all the time. I can count on one hand the number of buildings I have worked on that had lightning protection systems installed. As a matter of fact, I have worked on a building that housed a telecom switching station and it did not have a lightning protection system installed.

    Deadlock: I haven;t researched Indiana WC but some states do not require an employer to be held liable simply because the employee was at the place of business when it happened. There are exceptions that would allow a WC provider to deny coverage. I would imagine an "act of God" would be one of the biggies for exceptions.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    984

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    We had problems with people grounding buildings to gas service, need I say more. Bad connections in shielded cable either on prem or in the service lines contributes to audio "static" another reason for separate grounding. BTW employers # 1 priority is their capital investment for their equipment, not their people which is why I referred OP to both OSHA and an EC attorney.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,787

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    Well, not to be pushy but the gas piping is also required to be bonded (bonding is a term used to refer to an electrical continuity) to the grounding system of the building. Now the gas sysytem is not to be used as a means of grounding but actually the reverse.


    The idea and intent is that all metal within a building is bonded so there will be no difference of potential between any two metal objects. Without getting into a big discussion on electricity and theory, potential is a term used to refer to voltage. If there is no difference of potential (although the entire system could actually be energized) including the grounding system, there is no possibility of shock or arcing (not a good thing when there is gas present) and all is safe.

    That is why, with very few exceptions, anything metal and part of the building must be bonded together. You simply are not legally allowed to have multiple grounding systems in a building that are not bonded together. There may be multiple grounding systems (all of which are defined within the NEC) but they must all be effectively tied together electrically.

    So enough of "electrcity in construction 101".

    It rarely hurts to contact the entities you have suggested, especially since the OP apparently is disabled to the point of unable to work. They will not have to fear or deal with any retribution.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    10

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    thank you kindly for your response .... having short term cognitive memory issues, I am left to rely on printed material from friends at work, which unfortunately, I have no recall of (I've lost 5 yrs. of short term memory). Currently, I have retained an attorney, and last month at the request of the workers compensation carrier, took a psychological exam (physically there is no question my right side is shot physically). I am not sure what sign this is if anything. Your comments would be appreciated.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    After reading over the responses from those of you whom were generous enough to give me your time, I called my atty who is going to represent me should this case move forward. We discussed a number of issues represented in responses (all names, ID's withheld) and he feels that because the workers comp carrier did ask me for an an exam that was completed, they must be concerned over the outcome of this issue. As I understand it, when the time comes to go in front of the board, which could be anytime sooner or later, a decision would be made as to the validity of my case, and if turned down, an appeal would take place. I do want to make sure for those of you who replied, that I am not one to seek damages of any nature unless I felt it was appropriate. In states such as Alabama, Virginia, Missouri, recently Illinois, etc, when it is said and done, the rule of thumb is if I was put in more danger than if I would have been at home with a lightning strike. Lightning can and does strike without notice as we know. My viewpoint is that I was in fact in an environment that did place me in greater danger than the normal citizen. I can point to the number of PC's, previous stike to the data center, wet ceiling tiles, lack of adequate grounding instruments, so on and so forth. What does seem to be an overrriding factor as to whether or not this moves forward is the determination of workrs comp carrier itself, and any delay tactics practiced. Any dollar amount delayed in payment is working for the carrier, not the individual struck. This has been and is true practice in many lines of insurance. Fortunately my past work experience has involved carriers (not workers comp) and this is just one way to accumalte dollars whether they reserve or not. My only concern is that of my wife and daughter. Prognosis for someoen like myself is not attractive, and I have already encountered some of the downside. Yes I am lucky to be alive (I think), but falling apart piece by piece is difficult for anyone, especially my two loved ones. Dollars cannot replace my memory or physical ailments, but it can help out long term for my surviviors. I make this post only to let you know how much I apprecited the exchanges, and also that I am not a money hungry litigating person. I respect our laws and thoses who administer it. In this case, I beleive the carrier is simply looking to outlive my interest ---- which wont happen. Thank you to all, and your advice is always welcome. Have a great new year!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    I was forwarded some information from which the sender asked to be kept anaynomous. The gist of the email was in regards to if I was at a metal desk or not. In my reply I told her I was, and the subsequent reply was that the metal desk in fact acts as a conductor. Is anyone aware of this and if so can you point me in the right direction. Thank you in advance for any replies

  7. #17
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    Jan 2006
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    38,787

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    anything metal is conductive but unless it is attached (electrically continuous) to something else for the electricity to flow to, it will not act as a conductor. As far as that goes, YOU are conductive as well so maybe we should blame this on your attrractive personality (just kidding. I, in no way blame you. Just trying to toss some levity in but you are actually conductive). Actually, at the voltages involved, the air itself is conductive proven by the fact that lightning does strilke at all. The opposite of conductive is insulative. Air is typically considered an insulator but that is due to the voltages generally involved. All insulators have a limit to their insulating ability. There are very few things we can do to insulate against lightning. We generally try to guide it to a point to minimize the damage it can cause.

    As I posted before, lightning frustrates most of mans attempts to control it. The great voltages of between 100 million and 1 billion volts and current in the range of 10,000 amps (as contrast, the highest typical electrical power lines utilize about 738,000 volts with varying currrents but definately less than the 10,000 amps in a typical lightning bolt. A typical house voltage is 240 volts and generally limited to 200 amp services although there are some very large houses that may have up to 800 amp services (that would be an extremley large electrical service for a house)).

    Lightning is simply beyond our control and our understanding of it is still very limited.

    As I posted before, I do not believe anything you experienced could be controlled or altered by the employer to provide a safer environment without going to extreme measures. There were probably hundreds of points outside the building that are typically better ground points for lightning. Why it struck you at that moment will probably never be answered totally.

    Please understand that I am not trying to prove you wrong or at fault. My input has been from a strictly factual and engineering point of view. I can see nothing that would have made the employer liable for your situation but if you can get workmans comp to help you, I wish you all the luck in the world.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    I certainly appreciate your response (and levity) to my posting. You have been able to educate me more in a few posts than others. Thank you again for your factual information.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    I dont know if anyone is still reading over this issue, but if so, anyone who migh comment on the following would be appreciated. This week I received a letter and call from my atty. that the workers comp carrier wanted to have the total of all my hospital bills .... the records will have to be supeoned (sp) as I have no idea what they are ...... anyway, from your experiences, what might this mean? regards to all

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,437

    Default Re: Lightning strike at place of work in Illinois

    Do you mean you are already on disability?

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