Static electricity.   As a child did you ever shuffle your stocking feet on a carpet and then touch someone, a sibling perhaps?  Fun huh.  Well, at least for one of you.  Static electricity is introduced to most of us in this way.   But static electricity in the workplace, particularly around flammables and combustibles, presents a very serious hazard.

Static electricity in the workplace is a hidden hazard.  Did you know that liquids, powders or fine solids moving through pipes will generate static electricity?  Did you know that the ejection of particles or droplets from a nozzle, such as a power washer, will generate static electricity?  I learned a lot about static electricity when handling a case involving oil drilling liquid storage tanks, the transfer of those liquids to a tanker truck, and the lack of grounding of the tanks/tanker.

If a substance is being moved from one holding location to another static electricity is created.  Unless the two locations are bonded and grounded, there will be a static electricity discharge.  If that discharge happens to occur in a flammable environment, the ignition of that flammable is likely.  Flammable environments include filing your cars’ gasoline tank.  Or transfer from a tanker to a larger holding storage tank of flammable liquids the same thing.  Oh, and by the way, any flammable material will do:  Wood dust, grain dust from silos, flammable gas fumes, etc.

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