New Innovation in Static Grounding Protection Provides Cost Effective Measures for Companies to Control their Static Ignition Fire and Explosion Risks
In U.S., Canadian and European legislation clear references are made to static electricity being a potential source of ignition for operations conducted in flammable and combustible atmospheres presenting a significant and credible risk to the health and safety of employees. Not only does an electrostatic ignition hazard present a health and safety risk, it can cause significant disruption to business operations, in some cases leading to site closures, and result in negative publicity for the company that has suffered from the consequences of a fire or explosion caused by static electricity.
Industry standard guidance that addresses the ignition hazards of static electricity can be followed so that static ignition hazards are identified and the appropriate precautionary measures are put into action. Two leading international guidance documents of specific relevance to the hazardous process industries are the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 77 “Recommended Practice on Static Electricity” and CENELEC’s IEC TS 60079-32-1 “Explosive atmospheres – Part 32-1: Electrostatic hazards, guidance”.
Both of these documents identify the range of EX/HAZLOC processes that present electrostatic ignition risks and the practical measures can be adopted to mitigate such risks. The most practical method of avoiding the accumulation, and consequent incendive discharge, of static electricity is the effective grounding and bonding of equipment. Grounding and bonding ensures equipment cannot accumulate electrostatic charge when the equipment is in contact with electrostatically charged liquids, powders and gases or is situated in close proximity to other electrostatically charged objects.
In order to safely transfer electrical charges from electrostatically charged equipment to earth, the most critical factor in the performance of grounding and bonding circuits is to ensure the total electrical resistance present in the path from the equipment requiring static grounding protection to a verified true earth grounding point is known.
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