Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is the transfer of electrostatic charge between two objects caused by contact. The resulting discharge from an electron imbalance may be so small that the human body can’t feel it, it can have serious consequences on electronic components at any stage of its production or application if not controlled.
Familiar examples of ESD include the shock we receive when we walk across a carpet and touch a metal doorknob. The threat of ESD looms everywhere in electronic work areas – floors, chairs, work surfaces, packaging materials, plastics and papers all give rise to static electricity
What can be done about ESD in the workplace?
Electrostatic protective areas (EPAs) that are free of static need to be created. An EPA is a defined space where no items or activities are able to cause damage to a sensitive device. An EPA needs to be set up using measures to prevent charging such as avoiding highly charging materials, and taking measures to remove static such as grounding human workers, providing antistatic devices in the workplace.
What are the antistatic devices used to control ESD?
There are a number of devices available which can be used, and sometimes a combination of these needs to be used to be effective: wrist straps, conductive flooring, ESD shoes, ESD clothing, anti-static mats, ionizers, and ESD-safe packaging materials.
Who needs ESD protection?
The medical, industrial, mining, manufacturing and electronics industries, as well as clean rooms all require ESD protection. ESD control programmes are used by the military, hospitals and operating theatres, manufacturing areas and electronic production areas.