Australian manufacturer, Lightning Protection International (LPI) has come up with a useful means of coping with electrical discharge events, a significant hazard to personnel and equipment via earth potential rise (EPR)
The EPR could be caused by faults in an electrical substation, power plants or high-voltage transmission lines, or of course, via lightning strike. In statistical terms in Australia, lightning poses a greater threat to individuals than almost any other natural hazard: 5-10 deaths and in the region of 100 injuries per year.
The item developed is the EPR Safety Mat, a simple means of mitigating Step and Touch Voltage hazards via a unique three-layer design. The three layers have different roles: The central electrically conductive layer equalises the electrical potential across the mat, the upper layer insulates while the lower layer is an electrically-conductive elastomer that protects the central layer while providing electrical continuity to it.
The EPR Safety Mat’s layers are sufficiently flexible to enable the mat to be rolled and unrolled as required in temporary and semi-permanent applications. They can also be joined to create longer versions as required.
Given the relatively low cost of the EPR Safety Mat to the cost of downtime, hospitalisation or the death of a person, there’s a very good argument for having these either as a permanent fixture or for placing where electrical repair work is to be carried out.
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