Some work environments harbor flammable or explosive materials. Static buildup can generate an electrical charge sufficient to cause a fire or explosion. Understanding non-sparking and anti-static tools: what are the important differences for a safe working environment?
Essentially, a non-sparking tool is one that does not contain ferrous metals. Ferrous metals include steel and iron, in all their different iterations. Items made from carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, or cooked iron have the potential to produce sparks.
Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, brass, silver, a and lead. However, they are not the only materials used to make non-sparking tools.
Non-sparking Water Pump Pliers
Although anti-static tools also serve the purpose of preventing fires and explosions, they are not the same as non-sparking tools. Anti-static tools work in complex systems or environments that are specifically designed to prevent the build-up of static electricity.
Certain products and equipment, especially electronic components, are extremely sensitive to static discharge. Static electricity is also dangerous in environments where flammable gases are present.
Where electrostatic discharge-sensitive materials are present, the workplace will have many features designed to prevent the build-up of static electricity. Highly charged materials will not be present and equipment and workers will be earthed to ensure that sensitive items are safe and intact and to avoid sparks that could lead to fire or explosion.
200 Non-Sparking Shovel
Anti-static tools are usually made of plastic and are designed not to lose or gain charge, so they will not transfer or accept charges from surrounding objects and surfaces. The workplace where these tools are required must maintain a precise range of humidity and temperature in order for the antistatic properties to function properly.
Spark-resistant tools are important for use in potentially explosive atmospheres or any facility where the possibility of fire or explosion caused by sparks requires special attention. This usually involves production facilities containing flammable gases, mists, dust, or liquids. Non-flammable tools are commonly used in oil refineries, paper companies, and ammunition plants. Food processing facilities using milk powder, egg whites, corn starch, grains, flour, or corn starch may also use non-sparking tools, as these can create combustible dust hazards.
242 Non-Sparking Cutting Shears
Electronic components - especially motherboards - are extremely sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD). Simple static electricity generated by a worker walking across the floor to a workstation can damage the motherboard and render the entire assembly unusable. Most industries do not need to worry about ESD, but when flammable gases (such as acetone or methane) are present in the air, even a small discharge can cause a fire or explosion.
Some work environments may require both non-sparking and anti-static tools. When you understand the difference between non-sparking and anti-static tools and what is essential for a safe working environment, you will be better able to protect workers and products from static electricity, fire, or explosion.