Proper care should be taken during handling and installation. If you are handling a light, it shouldn't be the first thing to come in contact with a surface or object. In-line fuses should be installed on all LED circuits to protect the LEDs, wiring and power source from shorts. If a 110 VAC transformer is used, plugging it into a surge protected power strip or receptacle may well save a full string of LED lights. There are simple, single receptacle, inexpensive, surge protectors on the market which have been designed for travelers for use with portable electronic devices.
With proper handling and circuit protection, this small percentage of failures could be reduced to zero. Below is a explanation of ESD that I found at anti-staticmat.com:
Static electricity is an electric charge caused by an imbalance of electrons on the surface of a material. It is most commonly caused by the contact and separation of materials. The area of contact, the speed of separation, relative humidity and other factors determine the amount of charge created in this process.
An example of this occurrence would be a person walking across the floor. Static electricity is generated as their shoe soles contact and separate from the floor surface. The amount of static electricity generated will increase due to the size of the sole surface, lower humidity and increased speed of movement.
The shock we receive upon touching another object is the transfer of the static charge or balancing of our charge to that of the object. This transfer is called Electrostatic Discharge or ESD.
Virtually all materials including water and dirt particles in the air are subject to this occurrence. The charge that is created, where it goes and how quickly is dependent on the materials characteristics and that of the materials it comes in contact with.
There are three basic types of Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).
Direct ESD to a device - A person walking generates a static charge then touches a device causing a transfer of the electrostatic charge. A similar occurrence can happen when an electro statically charged device is brought in contact with another object.
ESD from a device - Automated part movements within a device can generate an electrostatic charge, which will discharge when the device is brought in contact with another object.
Field induced ESD - Whenever an object becomes electro statically charged there is an electrostatic field associated with that charge. If a device is placed in that field, a charge may be induced on it. If the device is momentarily grounded while within that field a transfer of charge from the device will occur.
There are two categories of damage that an ESD can create.