Static Bonding and Grounding Site Surveys

When handling flammable materials such as petrochemicals, paint thinners, etc, there must be great care taken to avoid any sparks that could ignite the fumes. Many people are injured or killed every year because the proper precautions are not taken. This is so serious that both US and Canadian governments have mandated that certain precautions be taken. The US NFPA and the Canadian provincial Fire Codes all mandate that, when handling flammables, static bonding and grounding must be employed to reduce the occurrence of static discharge that could ignite the flammable materials. You may know static discharge from the sparks you get when you touch a doorknob after shuffling your feet along the carpet. Annoying to you in the office, but potentially lethal to those folks who work amongst flammables.

These pieces of legislation are helpful as they bring to light the potential hazards of static discharge. However, what they do not do is tell the plant Safety Manager or the average worker WHAT equipment to use and HOW to use that equipment properly to avoid static discharge. So the employee is left knowing that they need to use static bonding and grounding equipment, but not which equipment or how to use it. This is where Lind Equipment's Site Surveys can help.

At Lind Equipment, we have been working in hazardous locations for over 60 years, and we understand how static bonding and grounding works from the inside out. Every day we field calls from distributors and end-users wondering how they should approach a certain situation. "I've got this issue with static, but I'm not sure how to handle it" is a common refrain that we hear. Nowhere in the fire codes will you be able to see typical static bonding and grounding equipment that is used, let alone understand which clamp is right for you, or how best to use them in the drumming room versus the mixing area, and so on and so on.

To help solve these dilemmas for our customers, Lind Equipment has been dispatching our consultants on Site Surveys to provide static bonding and grounding advice that matches the situation and environment in which the customer works. Typically a Site Survey will involve a plant tour with the Plant Electrician, Safety Manager and Line Manager. We will examine all of the locations where flammables are stored, transferred, mixed, drummed and used. During this tour we will be looking not only at the equipment (or lack of equipment!) that is present, but also we will observe workers in their daily routine. Upon the culmination of the survey, we provide a written report detailing which equipment is right for the jobs at hand and what procedures need to be in place to use that equipment correctly.

The latter point is very important. We have done Site Surveys before at plants where they had all of the right equipment in place, but then we observed line workers using them so incorrectly that they were creating greater dangers for themselves rather than mitigating the danger! The right equipment without the right procedures (performed consistently, every time) is like not have any equipment at all. This is true in many aspects of work, but none more true than when dealing with static electricity.

Our Site Surveys are often eye-opening experiences for our customers and reveal to them things they were not even aware of. They assume that they are doing the right thing because no one has even explained to them what "right" is. The fire codes certainly do not offer any explanation of "right" or "wrong." It is not uncommon for a Site Survey to lead to a request for us to perform some staff training on both the theory of static electricity and on how to discharge that static electricity safely. Call us if you have any questions about your static bonding and grounding equipment and procedures, or would like us to perform a Site Survey for you.

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