Chances are that you are working in the oil, chemical, petrochemical, or any other industry where flammable liquids, dust, gases, or vapours are processed. These atmospheres are potentially explosive. If you are exposed to this risk, you certainly need to wear anti-static clothing. In these explosive environments, electrostatic discharges might cause damage to products and machines and it might even lead to lethal explosions.
Static electricity: how does it work?
Static electric charges are created by the repeated contact of two surfaces through friction. Friction creates either positive or negative electrical charges that are unstable. Static electricity is all about this imbalance of charges at the surface of a material. The electrical charges are at different levels of electrostatic charge, they will always want to come into balance. If they are close enough to each other, there can be a transfer of electrostatic charge, a discharge.
Dangers of an electrostatic discharge
An electrostatic discharge can cause a little spark that can result in multiple dangers. It might damage electronic equipment, mechanical components, or it can disturb the processing of products such as paper and plastics. In addition, the discharge can cause an electric shock that goes through your body. Often, it is just a minor shock you barely feel, but in extreme circumstances, it might cause burns or stop your heart.
The electrostatic discharge might also cause fires and explosions when flammable or explosive materials are ignited. For those situations, special equipment is needed: equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX). Anti-static garments are therefore always combined with protection against heat and flames, such as garments that comply with EN ISO 11612 and EN ISO 14116.
What is an electrostatic fabric?
Protective clothing that protects you from any harm that can come from an electrostatic discharge obviously isn’t an unnecessary luxury. The dangers of anti-static discharge are clear now, but how can we protect you?
With anti-static garments that prevent the build-up of static electricity from causing harm, we can keep you safe. Those garments include conducting materials that distribute static electricity through the fabric instead of letting it accumulate in one place. Thanks to your anti-static garments, the static discharge is dissipated to the ground.
Our anti-static protective clothing complies with the EN 1149-5 standard for professional clothing with electrostatic properties. Garments that comply with this standard are used in environments where there is a risk of explosion (ATEX environments), meaning that the outer fabric has to be anti-static (AST).