Static electricity is more than a nuisance. When electronics or combustibles are involved, it can result in serious problems. Not only can a buildup of static cause a person to feel a sudden charge when it is released, but because virtually every electronic item we use has some computer system on board, the static could damage chips and circuit boards, and worse, erase the information stored on the device. In fact, estimates now claim that as much as 80 percent of computer/electronic failure is the result of static electricity.
Static electricity exists when there are unequal amounts of positively and negatively charged particles present. When two objects with imbalanced charges are in contact—let's say you and a doorknob—electrons can move from you to the doorknob or vice versa. When these two energy charges are connected, a shock occurs. This is our most common experience with static electricity.
Static electricity is most prevalent in the dry winter months. This is because what is known as electrostatic discharge (ESD) occurs more frequently when the humidity drops below 50 percent. While adding more moisture to the indoor environment will not eliminate all static electricity, it can help. In a residential setting, this can quickly be addressed just by selecting a humidifier. However, merely adding humidifiers typically will not work in a large commercial facility.
We should also add that some carpeting materials often found in offices such a nylon, tend to be "static prone." As office workers walk over the carpet, static electricity builds up on shoes and clothing. This is then redistributed when the walker touches something such as a chair, a computer, a desk, etc.
One option that can make a difference is the use of Non-Conductive or Anti-Static floor mats. These look just like other floor mats except for one thing: they usually come with an electrical cord. No, the mat does not light up or anything when plugged in. The cord is a “ground cord.” It must be connected to the grounding in an electrical socket. This helps neutralize the positive and negative charges, thereby minimizing or eliminating static electricity.
If workers also stand much of the day, it's a good idea to look for Non-Conductive or Anti-Static mats that have anti-fatigue qualities as well. This helps reduce muscle aches and pain for employees who must stand for long periods at work. With non-conductive and or anti-static conditions, these mats can help eliminate static electricity hazards, protect office electronics, enhance worker safety, reduce pain and fatigue, and promote worker productivity.
For more information on Non-Conductive and Anti-Static mats, contact a Crown Matting Technology Specialist at 800-628-5463.