Blasters and painters continually work in potentially dangerous environments. Solvent fumes and certain densities of dust are explosive by nature. Static electricity in such a scenario is much more dangerous than an uncomfortable shock; a static spark can cause a fatal disaster.
What causes static electricity on the jobsite?
Static electricity is created by the high velocity media that swirls alongside the dust on the (typically) large steel surface of the work project – creating friction in the process. The friction causes static build-up. Sparks in such an environment puts the blaster at risk of serious harm.
Risk can be mediated and reduced however by following the recommendations and insights.
7 Tips to reduce risk of static explosions
1. Verify each blaster is using a nozzle washer
The most common cause of static shock results from no fitted nozzle washer. We supply a wide range of nozzle washers (gaskets) with varying conductivity ratings.
2. Only use blast hoses with a high carbon content
Grounding a long rubber blast hose that snakes about the jobsite is essential. Carbon content produces and guarantees complete conductivity both inside and outside the hose wherever the blast hose lays.
3. Ensure the blast hose is not damaged
Quality blast hoses contain copper wire, which if broken by a forklift or truck running over them, compromises the conductivity and effective grounding of the hose.
4. Use an aluminum nozzle holder
Some blasters have found they get less static when using an aluminum nozzle holder versus a plastic one.
5. Ground the Operator as well
Operators and blasters should wear static dissipative boots as well as secondary resources to personally ground themselves. Any item on the jobsite can become a charge accumulator and lead to possible static build-up and discharge. Grounding is critical for blasters operating at elevated heights or in situations that require precarious positioning and/or balance. A simple static shock may be all that is necessary for them to drop or lose their footing.
6. Always use Earthing Stakes to ground large equipment
Many blasting systems are mounted on mobile trailers or placed on rubber mats. The tires and mats will always have static issues unless grounded. An earthing stake is a simple fix for both scenarios and should always be employed on large equipment.
7. Ground your Blast Pot with an Earthing Stake as well
This helps dissipate any static build-up from both the blast hose and nozzle working its way backwards.
In any critical application or environment (especially tank farms and refineries) the grounding should be checked by a qualified electrician – an earth stake alone may not be sufficient, particularly in dry ground.
Seek professional, qualified engineering advice for your specific application.