Lightning Protection and Grounding in the 2023 National Standardization Programme

Lightning Protection and Grounding in the 2023 National Standardization Programme

Technological development requires new standards. Currently, when technological sovereignty has to be reached, this challenge is particularly important. Until recently, the absence of any Russian standards could be compensated by the use of international ones together with the voluntary certification in the respective centers. But now, many international certification centres are unavailable, and we have to create similar Russian organizations (including those created under the auspices of the industrial non-commercial partnerships), and we need modern Russian standards for all this. How active is this process with relation to the lightning protection and grounding? We can learn this by reading the National Standardization Programme (NSP-2023). This document is to define the areas for standardization for 2023-2024.

The standardization process itself has a standard. We are talking about the GOST R 1.14-2017 "Standardization in the Russian Federation. National Standardization Programme. Requirements for the Structure, Arrangement, Approval, and Implementation Control Rules". According to this regulatory document, the work for the development of this Programme is being carried out via a special Internet portal using the "BERESTA" Federal State Information System. The Technical Standardization Committees have been offering their proposals under the NSP-2023 from June 30 to September 2, 2022. The final document considering these proposals was presented at an extended meeting of the Standardization Council on September 29, 2022 and was soon approved by Rosstandart (Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology).

New versions of well-known standards

For four degades, the electrotechnical industry was governed by GOST 12.1.038-82 in terms of limit touch voltages and currents flowing through a human body. Now, according to the project 1.15.336-1.009.23, a new standard is proposed which will be included in the "Technical Regulations for Buildings and Structures Safety" 384-FZ (Federal Law). The first revision should be ready in June 2023, and the final standard will be adopted in September 2024. The issue of whether the standards considering the specifics of the lightning current effect on humans will be considered in new GOST is still open.


Developed for the first time

The arrangement of grounding for the communication systems in Russia is still primarily governed by departmental instructions. We only have an obsolete GOST 464-79 governing the grounding resistance for certain systems. This approach to the development of the regulatory documents appeared in the period when the Ministry of Communications of the USSR had a monopoly in the provision of telecom services. In modern Russia, the communications industry is characterized by a high level of competition and significant share of private capital. Moreover, the Ministry for Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media of the Russian Federation differs from its predecessor in its responsibilities. Therefore, the need for standardization in telecom has appeared at the level of the country rather than the department. This is, in particular, the aim of the project 1.15.336-1.012.23 "Ground Terminals and Grounding Arrangement of Various Purpose. Grounding Arrangements for Stationary Communication Plants. Specifications". The first edition should be ready at the end of July 2023, and approval of the standard is planned for September 2024.

NSP-2023, the General section, includes a series of projects intended for the development of a series of GOSTs related to general risk management issues, including in terms of equipment. This can be considered as a future investment for further development of lightning protection standards. The point is that modern standards of this kind are more often based on risk approaches. But since the standards for general risk management issues have not been previously developed, even Russian GOSTs referred to the international standards, including those that have not yet been adopted here. This destroyed an edifice of standards existing in Russia when an official document referred to other regulatory documents officially approved in Russia.


The Programme contains two projects with very similar names, but we are talking about the development of standards with different statuses. 1.15.336-2.010.23 "Ground Terminal and Grounding Arrangements of Various Purpose. Terms and Definitions" should be a renewed version of GOST R 57190-2016. This standard will become mandatory because it will be included in TR CU 010/2011 "On Machinery and Equipment Safety". However, there is also draft 1.15.336-2.013.23 "Ground Terminals and Grounding Arrangements. Terms and Definitions" with their result being the re-created GOST. And the second GOST is not mandatory since it is not planned to be linked to the technical regulations. It is OK if this situation occurred simply because of unsuccessful project naming and, in real life, the standards will have different scopes of application. But what if we get two similar standards with contradictions in details, which hampers their application?

Moreover, it is deeply regrettable that the Programme was not supplemented by GOST R 59789-2021 re-working, to which some specialists had claims.


The NSP-2023 analysis shows that the programme generally reflects further development path for the electrotechnical industry. The major part of electrotechnical standards is being re-developed, including the development on the basis of the Russian research rather than by simply adapting international regulatory documents. A very important decision was made: plans to develop GOST for grounding systems for stationary communications equipment considering the technology development and de-monopolization of the telecom services market. But it's yet too long before GOST includes all lightning protection and grounding issues which are now scattered among departmental instructions and guiding documents. Therefore, contact experienced specialists, e.g. from the Technical Center, in terms of lightning protection and grounding.