BlastOne

Eliminating Static Explosions

 

7 simple ways to reduce the danger of static electricity

Static electricity is more dangerous than a simple shock to your blaster or painter. Certain densities of dust are as explosive as solvent fumes. A spark in either environment can be a fatal disaster.

What is static electricity in abrasive blasting?

High velocity movement of blast media through a blast or vacuum hose to the surface area to be blasted results in swirling of abrasive and dust on very large surface along with friction, causing build-up of static electricity. The generation of sparks leading to fire/explosion and static shock puts the operator working with the blast equipment's safety at risk. However, the risk can be reduced by following some safety procedures in your blast set up.

Working in explosive atmospheres such as tank farms and refineries could expose you and your workers to static electricity.

7 insights to help reduce static build up for a safer work environment.

1. Ensure the nozzle washer is in place.
No washer fitted is the most common cause of shock. There are several types and manufacturers of nozzle washers (gaskets) which have varying conductivity ratings.

2. Use a quality blast hose which has a high carbon content.
This ensures conductivity from the inside tube to the outside cover, which guarantees a continuous grounding path wherever the blast hose rests on the ground.

3. Check for obvious damage to the blast hose.
If a blast hose is damaged by a forklift tire or similar this may break the special copper wire conduit, which many good quality hoses contain, reducing the conductivity of the hose.

4. Use an aluminum nozzle holder.
When using an aluminum nozzle some blasters have found they get less static if they switch from a plastic to an aluminum nozzle holder.

5. Ensure the operator is grounded.
Any item in the blasting area will act as a charge accumulator and lead to possible dangerous static discharge unless earthed. Grounding is also very critical for blasters working at heights, as the simple shock of the electrostatic discharge may be sufficient for them to lose their footing. Operators should wear static dissipative safety shoes and implement other personnel grounding equipment.

6. Ground your large equipment using an earthing stake.
Especially if your blasting equipment is mounted on a trailer with tyres or is on rubber mats. You will always have static issues unless you earth the units. If you're blasting equipment is a mounted on a trailer with tyres or is on rubber mats you will always have static issue unless you ground the workpiece using an earthing stake.

7. Use an earthing stake at the Blast Pot.
This can help to dissipate the charge from the blast hose and nozzle.

In any critical application, the grounding should be checked by a qualified electrician - an earth stake alone may not be sufficient, particularly in dry ground.

 

It is extremely critical to get qualified engineering advice to mitigate the risk of fire and explosion, when blasting in a potentially explosive atmosphere - Seek professional advice for your specific application.

 

Create a safer environment for your team and reduce static electricity today!

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