When you shuffle across a carpeted floor and tap a doorknob, you feel a startling shock. This is the simplest form of electrostatic discharge (ESD), and it is due to a charge transferring between bodies of differing electrical potentials. Since your body is a conductor of electricity, this process also grounds you. According to the forward of ANSI/ESD S6.1-2019: ESD Association Standard For The Protection Of Electrostatic Discharge Susceptible Items – Grounding:
“The single most important concept in the field of static control is grounding.”
A grounded conductor cannot hold a static charge. Whether with wrist straps (which should be evaluated in accordance with the standard for wrist straps, ANSI/ESD S1.1-2021), dissipating floor mats, etc., attaching all electrically conductive and dissipative items in a workplace to ground allows built-up electrostatic charges to equalize with ground potential. ANSI/ESD S6.1-2019 helps users attain this task to prevent electrostatic discharges.
Electrostatic discharges can occur in a variety of business and laboratory environments. With sources of static electricity like common plastic bags, packing tape, paperwork, Styrofoam cups, and even the human body prone to leaping electrons in workplaces, creating an ESD Protected Area (EPA) is paramount when protecting ESD sustainable items.
As discussed in ANSI/ESD S6.1-2019, all ESD technical elements used in ESD protected areas need to be connected to a common point ground or common connection point. This is bonded to the selected ESD grounding/bonding reference system.
Sometimes, actual connection to the ground might not be accessible. This might be the situation in a field service environment. To provide static control in these workplaces, bonding, or electrically interconnecting all electrically conductive and dissipating objects, permits charge to equalize across these items.
For applicability with numerous ESD prevention systems in an EPA, ANSI/ESD S6.1-2019 covers bonding and grounding. It specifies the parameters, materials, equipment, and test procedures necessary to choose, establish, verify, and maintain an Electrostatic Discharge Control grounding system within an ESD Protected Area, and it specifies criteria for users to establish ESD bonding.
The information contained in ANSI/ESD S6.1-2019 may not apply to grounding electrical sources operating at frequencies above 400 Hz.
While ESDs are rarely directly harmful to humans, they can lead to potentially hazardous environments in flammable or explosive atmospheres. These environments might need additional considerations not covered by this standard.
ANSI/ESD S6.1-2019: ESD Association Standard For The Protection Of Electrostatic Discharge Susceptible Items – Grounding is available on the ANSI Webstore.