The presence of combustible fuels and vapours can increase the apparent risk in a hazardous area, but any location that is exposed to the elements may benefit from some surge protection.

That is because of the risk – however slim – of a spike in electrical current caused as the result of a lightning strike, which could be direct or anywhere in the vicinity, if no surge protection is in place between the local circuitry and that of the wider grid.

An isolated example of poor protection against the weather was raised in a recent Q&A session hosted by the HSE on their Twitter profile, in which one user bearing the pseudonym ‘Where’s Five O?’ asked about the electrical systems in use at their local market.

In their photographs, ordinary four-way extension cords were seen hanging from bollards and resting unprotected on block paving, with no protection against rain or other weather.

The HSE directed the user to their guidance on electrical safety – which warns about everything from electric shocks to explosions of dust and flammable vapours.

Warnings are also given against a failure to have adequate surge protection in place where a lightning strike is a potential risk – and that makes it an important addition to any outdoor electrical systems.