Electrostatic Discharge in the Workplace
This entry was posted on June 27, 2014.
Electrostatic discharge or ESD occurs naturally through a variety of sources, including the human body. It occurs when the positive and negative electric charges are not equal, which creates a charge-imbalance on your body. Just walking around a room can cause static charges to occur and when you touch the equipment or electronics in the workplace, you’ll feel a shock.
While this static shock only lasts for a second, it can create a lot of problems for your company and the person responsible for the shock.
Why Is Electrostatic Discharge Such a Problem?
Electrostatic discharge is very similar to a lightning strike but on a much smaller scale, so it does pose a few safety issues that are cause for concern. For example, it’s very uncomfortable for the person receiving the shock and this can result in a decrease in production. Not wanting to touch something you know will shock you is a natural instinct, even if it is on a mild scale but that’s just the beginning of the problems.
ESD can also damage sensitive components inside electronics and over time, it will burn out the circuit board rendering the items useless. It affects equipment in much the same way, which can cause your company to have excessive downtime. Both damaged products and faulty equipment will result in lost revenue for your company.
ESD is especially dangerous for employees that work in high voltage areas and with flammable materials. The static shock could ignite a fire or result in a shock that could result in death. For this reason, ESD is a real problem for industries and you must take steps to reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge in the workplace.
How Can You Reduce the Risks of ESD
Using ESD non-conductive floor mats is one way to reduce the risks of ESD injuring a worker or damaging your equipment. These mats absorb the static charge, which prevents it from running into the equipment or electronics your employees work with.
If workers are dealing with flammable materials or high voltage electricity, non-conductive floor matting is necessary. They work by creating a barrier between the ground and the employee. As a result, it prevents the ESD from causing electrical shocks or fires that could result in serious injuries.
Another option is to use accessories like the Heel Grounder to help reduce ESD. These fit around the heel of the insulative work shoes and they have a fabric strip that touches the person’s skin. Velcro holds them on, so they’re adjustable. They work by directing the static electricity from the person to the mat underneath their feet. For areas where small electronics are worked on, the stat-guard tablemat will help control static electricity.
Protecting your workers is top priority and taking steps to reduce static electricity in the workplace will help keep them safe. As a result, your employees will be happier, healthier and have the tools needed to increase production. It will also reduce lost revenue due to damaged equipment and electronics caused by ESD.