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Static electricity is a common problem in many workplaces, potentially causing anything from slight discomfort to injury or death. It can be caused by dry air, friction between surfaces, or even the materials used in clothes or furniture.

If you run a business, this type of electricity can affect the performance of electronic equipment, causing data loss or equipment damage. It can also lead your staff members to experience nasty electric shocks.

As such, it’s important for workplaces to take steps to prevent and eliminate static electricity to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for employees.

Below, we’ll explain what static electricity is, the damage it can potentially cause and also outline tips you can action to help you get rid of static electricity in your workplace – making it a more comfortable and safer environment for everyone.

What is static electricity?

Static electricity refers to the build-up of electric charge on a surface. It’s effectively a charge imbalance, which occurs when two materials are brought into contact and then separated. This results in one material becoming positively charged and the other negatively charged.

The excess electrons on one material are then transferred to the other, creating a static electric charge. This can be observed in everyday phenomena such as static hair standing on end after brushing it, or a spark when touching a doorknob after shuffling across a carpet. These movements can generate static charges of 10,000 volts or more.

What are the dangers of static electricity?

There are a variety of dangers of static electricity that every business owner needs to be aware of.

Fire and Explosion Hazards

Static electricity can cause fires and explosions in certain environments, such as those involving flammable liquids and gases. This can happen, for example, when a static spark ignites fuel vapour, causing a fire or explosion.

Damage to electronic equipment

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can cause damage to electronic devices, such as computers and other sensitive equipment. When discharge occur directly on or near the device, circuit boards can get significantly jarred – potentially damaging delicate components and rendering the equipment inoperable.

Injury to humans

Static electricity can also cause injury to humans, particularly in the form of electric shock. This can occur when a person comes into contact with a charged surface, such as a doorknob or railing, and the electrical charge is transferred to the person, causing an electric shock.

In some cases, this can be mild and cause only minor discomfort, but in other cases, it can be severe and potentially life-threatening.

How to get rid of static electricity at work

To avoid static electricity wreaking havoc in your workplace, there are several steps that can be taken

Wear natural fabrics

Clothing made of natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool, absorb moisture from the air, which helps to neutralise static charges. When the fibres are moist, they are less likely to generate static electricity (as opposed to synthetic materials like polyester or nylon).

Further, some natural fibres contain natural oils that can act as a lubricant. This can help to reduce friction between fibres and also help to neutralise static charges. “Anti static clothing” really does exist.

Carry a coin

Carrying a coin can help reduce static electricity by providing a source of electrical conductivity. The coin, made of metal, can effectively act as a grounding agent, allowing the excess static charge to dissipate into the ground.

Get an anti-static mat

Anti-static mats can help reduce static electricity by providing a path for excess electrical charge to dissipate into the ground. They are typically made of a conductive material (such as rubber or carbon) which is specifically designed to reduce the amount of static charge on a surface.

When a person or equipment is placed on an anti-static mat, the mat provides a way for any excess static charge on their body or equipment to be conducted away and into the ground. This can help to neutralise the static charge and prevent it from building up on the person or equipment.

Looking to remove static electricity at work? Consider investing in an anti-static mat.

Investing in an anti-static mat is a smart decision for any business owner looking to prevent static electricity in the workplace.

Not only will it help you reduce the risk of damage to your equipment, but it will also improve the overall comfort and safety of employees.

At Prestige Rental Mats, many of our mats are designed with anti-static properties. They’re designed to be durable and long-lasting. This makes them a cost-effective solution for preventing electricity in the workplace – whether you run a factory, warehouse, office or retail store.

You can get in touch with our team at Prestige at 1300 308 178 or submitting your query here.