News & Publications
Advances in lightning protection as SME completes "Green-Building"
Environmental Care with Sanparks Safari Lodge in Skukuza
SME Lightning Protection and Earthing completed another prestigious installation as part of the Concor Buildings recently completed in a new Safari Lodge at the Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park.
The new Skukuza Safari Lodge planned and constructed as a "green building" boasts 128 units, including 87 standard rooms, 20 family rooms and 13 universal rooms.
With a focus on environmental care, the lodge has been designed to combine the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Principles as well as the requirements of the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). This meant that targets for lower energy usage as well as water savings were also built into the planning.
SME Lightning Protection and Earthing faced this challenging high-profile industry leading installation and successfully completed the HVI (high-voltage-resistance insulated) installation which maintained the correct separation distances from conductive parts using the Dehn system according to SANS 62305-3.
In line with green building requirements, the two-level structure does not protrude above tree level, minimising its visual impact. Advances in lightning protection by SME have been harnessed, with integrated protectors being used in place of the traditional lightning poles that are very tall and generally unsightly.
We are very proud of successfully completing this advanced technical HVI installation and we know that the wildlife-loving public will find the Safari Lodge an experience very close to nature.
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Knowledge is power and could save your life!
What can you do to implement outdoor lightning safety plans and equipment to protect your employees and property?
“Upon hearing thunder, it’s time to head indoors” is likely to be a constantly repeated and thus inherent notion for outdoor lightning safety. Some may be familiar with the 30/30 rule, essentially meaning that if the time between seeing lightning and hearing thunder is less than 30 seconds, it is time to find a safe place for shelter. For employees working in large installations such as the oil and natural gas fields or water treatment plants, this phenomenon is a continuous concern during storm season.
Large Facilities and Outdoor Lightning Safety
The problem with large structures is that it is not so much a question of if lighting will strike, but when it will. The silver lining that can be found in all of this is that proper outdoor lightning safety procedures exist to ensure lighting strikes do not happen or at least divert them if an unavoidable situation occurs.
Large installations of any kind are practically considered “sitting ducks” for lightning strikes. However, there are some procedures that can be taken to greatly minimize the likelihood of employees and buildings getting struck and thus suffering the consequences.
The following are some examples:
Pay attention to the weather forecast in your area
If you can hear thunder, it is time to go indoors, this is the most basic plan for outdoor lightning safety
If stuck outdoors, crouch as low as possible
Do not operate electronic equipment
Lightning tends to strike the tallest objects
Wait at least 30 minutes after the storm passes to go outdoors
Outdoor Lightning Safety: Indirect Lightning Strikes
The problem is not necessarily only receiving a direct hit by lightning; when outdoors, an indirect lightning strike occurring over one hundred feet away can still cause damage and injury. Even when indoors, any nearby lightning activity can cause various issues.
It is entirely possible for one to be injured by lightning indoors. It’s recommended that one stand away from windows and water sources during a lightning storm.
Indirect lightning strikes can cause electrical failure and shortages indoors as well.
Even though this is theoretically true, there is a bit more to it than just that said concept.
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DAMAGED CAUSE BY INDIRECT LIGHTNING STRIKES
December 21, 2018
Understanding the damaged caused by indirect lightning strikes is important for anyone in the oil and gas industry. These lightning strikes can cause major damage to any facility and also pose significant safety concerns for any workers in the near vicinity of these strikes. The main difference between a direct and indirect lightning strike is that an indirect lightning strike occurs on an object or the ground and the electric current travels until it meets another object. A side flash is another form of an indirect lightning strike, as this type of lightning strikes an object and hits another object through the air instead of the ground.
Understanding how to minimize the damage of indirect lightning strikes is critical in the oil and gas industry, as here are just a few examples of the potential damaged caused by indirect lightning strikes.
#1 Indirect Lightning Strikes Can Be Deadly
An indirect lightning strike can be deadly, as an average bolt of lightning can carry an electric current of 20,000 amperes. Always taking the necessary safety precautions is essential in the workplace, as an indirect lightning strike has enough power to cause significant damage and even loss of life. Installing lightning protection equipment is the first step in keeping employees safe. A lightning protection company can perform site surveys and risk assessments to identify the needs of your facility.
#2 Indirect Lightning Strikes are Fairly Common
Indirect lightning strikes are very common, and they account for over 50% of lightning injuries each year. On the other hand, direct lightning strikes only account for 4% of all incidents in a year. Understanding how to prepare for indirect lightning strikes can help you minimize the damage of these storms and create a much safer work environment.
#3 Indirect Lightning Strikes Can Cause Massive Damage
An indirect lightning strike can cause significant damage to any outdoor buildings or equipment. These damages can shut down the entire operations of a company and require extensive repair work before everything begins to function at a normal rate. These hours of downtime can result in substantial costs and make it difficult for any oil and gas company to make a profit. However, taking the extra time to invest in lightning protection technology is well worth the additional costs to ensure that your facility has the best protection available from indirect lightning strikes.
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HOW TO AVOID BEING A LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIM
Senior forecaster at the SA Weather Service Puseletso Mofokeng says in terms of natural disasters, lightning is the number one killer in the country. (Eyewitness News)
JOHANNESBURG - Following the latest lightning strike in which four people were killed in the Northern Cape, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued safety precautions to follow before and during a thunderstorm.
On Tuesday, four people died in after they were struck by lightning in an open field in the Northern Cape.
It’s understood that the two males and two females were working on a farm in Louisvale when a thunderstorm hit the area. Last week, a rowing coach died after he was struck by lightning at the Germiston Lake in the East Rand.
Senior forecaster at SAWS Puseletso Mofokeng says that in terms of natural disasters, lightning is the number one killer in the country. He said: “It is normally not advisable to stand under a tree. We advise people to not run when there is lightning, or walk or stand under power lines.
“When a thunderstorm is approaching, even if it hasn’t started raining yet, that lightning is dangerous because it can get to you.”
Mofokeng added that provinces like KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State have high numbers of people being killed by lightning.
WHAT YOU SHOULD AVOID:
• Don’t stand under a tree
• Don’t run or jog during a storm
• Don’t walk or stand under powerlines
• Get inside as soon as possible
• Avoid tents and pavillions
• If no shelter is available, crouch low, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible.
Speaking of shelter, as much as it’s safe to be indoors during a storm, there are certain things not to do.
WHAT NOT TO DO INDOORS:
• Don’t wash dishes
• Don’t bath or shower; water is an excellent conductor of electricity
• If you are in a vehicle, stay in it.
• You can unplug appliances to minimise strikes
• Stay away from concrete floors or walls.
• Avoid corded phones.
In addition to the obvious warning of a darkening sky, there are certain conditions that can alert you to a lightning before the strikes threaten. You are in a 'danger zone' and need to seek immediate shelter if you experience any of the following:
• Raindrops or hail
• Audible thunder or visible flashes
• Large, towering clouds
Lightning strikes may be rare, but they still happen and the risk of serious injury or death is severe. So take thunderstorms seriously.
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Cricket coach passed away after a lightning strike
"One of our sports coaches, Clinton Flynn, was struck by lightning on 31 January at around 5:50 pm and passed away at around 11pm that evening."
The storm came in suddenly and the staff reacted extremely quickly to ensure the fields at the open areas were cleared. At 5:50pm, Clinton was walking across the field, on his way home, when he was struck."
Crawford Preparatory Sandton, Johannesburg.
Reported in the Sandton Chronicle - 1 Feb 2019
Rowing coach killed in lightning strike
The Somerset College rowing coach was killed in a lightning strike in Germiston (Gauteng) during a regatta on the 26th January 2019.
Reported in the Timeslive - 28 January 2019
Lightning strike at Loskop Dam
On Saturday 12th January, Jaco le Roux, who was fishing at Loskop Dam in Mpumalanga, was struck by lightning conducted from his fishing rod. He survived but suffered an abdominal wound.
Reported in the Timeslive - 28 January 2019
Lightning kills mom, three children in KZN
The lives of a mother and her three children were claimed when their home in the Jozini local municipality was struck. The father was injured and taken to the nearest hospital and is in a critical condition.
The Cogta MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, expressed her dismay at this occurance as yet another family has lost its loved ones due to bad weather. "KZN has suffered immeusurable harm from lightning strikes which cause serious damage" she said.
Reported in the Daily News - March/April 2018
Man struck dead by lightning near Pretoria
A man, believed to be 28 years old, was struck dead by lightning in Eldoraigne in Centurion, south of Pretoria, on Tuesday afternoon.
Timeslive - March/April 2018
Lightning kills KZN teen
A 17-year old girl died and two were injured when they were struck by lightning near Winterton in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
The girl was on her way home but it was not immediately clear where she was coming from, when the incident happened around 20:00 on Monday.
News 24 - March 2018
Knysna fires were probably caused by lightning strike: CSIR
The fires that ravaged Knysna and surrounding areas in the Western Cape last year were probably caused by the spread of a smouldering fire after a lightning strike. This is according to a report released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Thursday on what it called "one of the worst fire disasters" in South Africa's history.
Times Live - 28 June 2018
A warmer planet with rising pollution, population density and urbanization is intensifying human exposure to lightning hazards, warn scientists.
SME Lightning Protection and Earthing receives Excellence Award from NOSA
SME in Richards Bay received a NOSA Excellence Award for the second year in a row at the Mondi Richards Bay plant. This prestigious award recognises the Best Company in the NOSA Contractors Evaluation System on health and safety aspects. Wayne Foord, the SME Health and Safety Officer stated after receiving the Excellence Award - "SME has been a leading supplier in the industry, where we value all safety aspects of our teams on projects and we work hard to ensure that safety remains a critical component of our business, which competitively differentiates us from our competitors." Wayne further added "We are very proud of this award as it recognises our commitment to our clients and our respect for the safety guidelines on the project sites."
SME makes history in Renewable Energy Sector
SME has made history in the 32 year existence of the business with a ground breaking Project in the Renewable Energy Sector. The project extended for more than a year in the De Aar, Northern Cape region with a R5 billion investment in the two wind farm projects.
The project consisted of De Aar 1 totalling 100MW; 67 tower wind farm, and De Aar 2 totalling 140MW; consisting of 96 tower wind farms.
The SME Team together with the Inyati support team celebrate the completion of De Aar Project 1
SME growth strategy
SME Lightning Protection and Earthing is one of the leading SABS ISO9001:2015 certified service providers in the specialist field of lightning protection, earthing and surge protection explained Directors Marius Janse van Rensburg and Eduard Ferreira. SME was established in 1985 and grew from a business mostly focused on the KZN market to expanding the services offered to Richards Bay and Namibia in recent years.
“An increase in demand for the high quality of services offered by SME and the increasing growth in the SME brand has lead to the establishment of an operational office for SME in Johannesburg during 2015. This growth strategy has laid a foundation for SME to accelerate it’s growth within one of the largest markets in South Africa” says Eduard.
Furthermore SME has completed various large projects in countries outside the borders of South Africa and have continued to develop a loyal client base of customers who trust the SME brand to deliver the required services through a high quality installation in compliance with the relevant South African National Standards. (SANS) SME will continue to expand its reach and support for projects in South Africa and also key neighbouring countries like Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland all the way up to Kenya and surrounding countries.
New Addington Children's Hospital project completed by SME
“SME Lightning Protection and Earthing was commissioned to install a comprehensive structural lightning protection system for the Addington Children’s Hospital as part of the redevelopment. Facing architectural challenges as well as high resistivity values, a composite earth ring was installed around the perimeter of each building to ensure rapid dissipation of lightning currents in the event of a direct or indirect strike, thereby providing protection to the structures and the people in the buildings.
SME is proud to be associated with Consulting Engineers, WSP and the main contractor NORVO Construction on the successful completion of the external works of the New Addington Children’s Hospital.”
SME Operations Director attends Hannover Messe Trade Fair 2016
Marius Janse van Rensburg, owner and Operations Director of SME Lightning Protection and Earthing (Pty) Ltd, were invited by Phoenix Contact and attended the Hannover Messe Fair in Germany. The Hannover Messe is the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology and was opened this year by the US President Barack Obama.
Hannover Messe Trade Fair 2016
190 000 professional visitors
>5 200 exhibitors
75 countries present
SME develops leading marketing material and launches brand campaigns
Dynamic Marketing material SADC Sugar Digest Advert in March 2016
SME awarded lightning protection and earthing of The Pearls of Umhlanga - Pearl Sky
Already an iconic feature in KwaZulu Natal, The Pearls of Umhlanga is proud to be embarking on its 5th and final phase - Pearl Sky.
Having already generated major investment, as well as tourism within the province, after the completion of the final phase, The Pearls of Umhlanga will be worth in excess of R3 billion, making it one of the largest private sector investment in the region over the last ten years.
“The Pearls of Umhlanga development has proved to be a major success. With the first four phases (Pearl Reef, Pearl Tides, Pearl Breeze and Pearl Dawn) of the development 100% sold, The Pearls precinct has escalated in value by some 100% since its launch in 2004. The Pearls of Umhlanga Development is due for completion in 2017, Pearl Sky will include 322 upmarket residential apartments, as well as a 14 500m² luxury boutique retail component. Offering executive studio, 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom apartments, Pearl Sky promises much more than just a spectacular home – it offers an exclusive lifestyle. In addition to the modern apartments and stunning sea views, this phase will include zen gardens, sun decks, private lap pool, jacuzzi and children’s play areas to name a few.
“One of the most unique aspects of the fifth phase is the fact that residents will have direct access to a luxury boutique mall offering retail, business and wellness facilities. This will feature the country’s most stylish boutiques, designer labels and the finest restaurants, all to satisfy the most opulent tastes.
The Pearls of Umhlanga has already gained an impressive architectural reputation as one of the country’s most exclusive resort and residential offerings. Pearl Sky will include a number of elements that follow a similar aesthetic rationale. The architectural ‘language’ has been developed to enhance the concepts of lavishness and fine living. The apartments are modern with all the finer finishes, and have an interior-to-exterior flow design that invites sunshine and sea air into one’s living space.
SME cares about conservation
SME sponsored 8 Milers this year, which were made up of 28 swimmers during the Midmar mile swim, raising funds for the Wildlands rhino conservation projects which included:
Project Rhino Tracker
This project includes the use of satellite transmitters and UHF data-loggers, which provide the most real-time information on the Rhino that is available to date. These are fitted onto the Rhino in protected areas to allow for more efficient use of field rangers. This allows rangers to have better knowledge of the Rhino movements and behaviours. The rangers can then be deployed at strategic locations to counter any vulnerable situations.
Project Rhino Aerial Support
This project has proven to be an essential element of addressing the Rhino poaching crisis. Through this Aerial Support initiative Wildlands aim to raise the funds required to support and maintain aircraft in order to allow them to fly a minimum of 40 hours per month, covering the key properties where Rhino populations occur. Additional aircrafts and helicopters across northern KZN will have a significant impact on reducing Rhino poaching, especially in the private and communal areas that do not enjoy the same level of paramilitary support that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s conservation areas do.
Project Rhino Investigations and Prosecutions
One of the key gaps identified in addressing the Rhino poaching crisis is in providing a professional and well-coordinated prosecution of key individuals or syndicates known to be involved in poaching around Rhino reserves. To address this, Wildlands aims to support a team of investigators and attorneys to prosecute known individuals in KwaZulu-Natal, with the aim of setting a precedent for other poachers, who will then know that the conservation sector is serious about taking these culprits to task.
SME receives Excellence Award from NOSA
NOSA, a global leader in safety, health and environmental (SHE) announced that SME KZN Richards Bay was the Winner in the NOSA Contractors System and awarded SME with an Excellence Award.
Well done to Charlie Maritz (Operations Manager) and Wayne Foord (Health and Safety Officer)
SME as the leading SABS specialist in the field of lightning protection and earthing has always been committed to health and safety practices.
SME awarded new Mr. Price distribution centre in Hammersdale.
MR PRICE will invest R2bn over the next three years to entrench its position as the continent’s leading fast-fashion value retailer.
The group is increasing its focus on new sales channels such as the internet. Online sales have grown threefold and the group will also expand its footprint into markets such as West Africa.
Mr Price is building a new distribution centre in Durban and investing in more stores and new merchandise systems.
These investments are being made against the backdrop of heightened competition as global retailers enter South Africa and peers such as Woolworths look to add scale through apparel buyouts.
The group was "absolutely bulletproof", said 36One Asset Management equity analyst Daniel Isaacs.
"You can’t fault these guys. The apparel sales were just superb. I think they’ve definitely picked up a lot of market share. In this economic storm I think Mr Price is probably the best positioned out of all of them (clothing retailers)," Mr Isaacs said.
SME is proud to provide lightning protection and earthing services for the new MRP distribution centre which is currently being constructed in Hammersdale.
Zambia Sugar Plc invests in major sugar project
Zambia Sugar, a majority-held subsidiary of the Illovo Sugar Group, announced details of a major investment project at its Nakambala sugar operations at Mazabuka which will give further impetus to the development of Zambian smallholder cane farmers and provide employment opportunities for local people during the construction phase scheduled for completion in 2016.
The project scope includes the construction of a modern, high-specification refinery to more than double current annual refined sugar production capacity to around 100 000 tons and increase annual sugar production capacity from 420 000 to 450 000 tons through a range of smaller factory improvements. This project consolidates Zambia Sugar’s position as Africa's single-biggest cane sugar producer and underlines the broader Illovo group strategy of focusing on growth within its domestic and regional markets and downstream opportunities to diversify its product mix.
The Nakambala sugar factory which in the current 2014/15 season produced a record 424 000 tons of sugar.
SME was awarded the Nakambala Expansion Phase 2 and continues to support the sugar industry key players.
SME supports Sezela Club Blue Horizon fundraiser
SME supported a golf fundraiser and sponsored prizes for the Sezela Club Blue Horizon organised by Illovo Sugar Umzimkulu, on the 28th August 2015.
The Sezela Club Blue Horizon held its 4th Fundraising Golf Tournament at the Umdoni Golf Club. The funds raised were gainfully utilised in caring for the needs of the community of Sezela.
The local community of Illovo Sezela depends largely on the facilities of this club and the maintenance and operating costs have increased tremendously, mainly due to electricity.
The golf day was a huge success for the sustainability of the Sezela Club Blue Horizon and SME was proud to support this initiative.
SME provides Quality Protection over 34 Years
SME celebrated 34 years of quality protection in 201 and has entered an exciting growth phase for the business. Marius Janse van Rensburg, Operations Director, has been the anchor of the SME business over the past 19 years since he joined the business, and he has developed SME to become the leading specialist in terms of lightning protection, earthing and surge protection.
As part of his vision and the growing national demand for SME’s service, a new business partner was approached for the growth strategy to expand the business to the Gauteng inland area and thereby extending the coverage of SME as a national specialist provider in the field of lightning protection, earthing and surge protection.
SME is proud to welcome on-board Eduard Ferreira as Commercial and Financial Director. Eduard has gained valuable management and business development experience in the retail and manufacturing sectors within the architectural coatings industry over the past 23 years. He is based in Johannesburg and will extend SME’s national coverage to provide industries with SME’s expertise and complete solutions approach.
Marius and Eduard share the same vision for SME and also a deep passion in terms of exceptional customer service and building real partnerships.
We believe the new ownership between them will guide the dynamic SME team during this exciting growth phase of the business and will reinforce SME as the leading specialist in the field of lightning protection, earthing and surge protection.
Blendcor Safety Site Visit
At the Blendcor site on the 20th Nov, Excellent Muthwa prepares to start cutting and chasing with an angle grinder.
Well done on working safely!
SME is committed to achieving outstanding practice in the field of health and safety. In all cases, we will aim to meet or exceed applicable legal and other requirements, as we believe that all accidents and occupational illnesses and injuries are preventable. We will only be truly successful when every employee goes home safely to their families at the end of every day.
Across the SME`s organisation, health and safety practices are governed by mandatory policies, standards and procedures that apply to all employees.
CONTRIBUTED BY: WAYNE FOORD