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Truth Vs Facts  "The myths surrounding static"


Over the course of 25 years we have discovered that many of the beliefs that surround static electricity and lightning are not based on facts. 

The most obvious and dangerous of these beliefs is that you cannot die from coming in contact with static electricity.

This belief has spread through the workplace community and has been incorrectly accepted as truth.

A "truth" not supported by facts: The facts sadly are as follows: 

"""On May 6, 2010, a 39 year old employee received a static electric shock, after she contacted a plastic film roll line on which static electricity had built up and was not dissipated prior to contact. Employee #1 was hospitalized and found to have no brain activity. She died after her family discontinued life support on May 11, 2010.""" Source: *OSHA Inspection: 313741001 - 3m Company""" 

* OSHA - United States Department of Labor  - Occupational Safety & Health Administration

​The reported incidences of static shock has increased significantly over the last 10 years. SEC strongly suggests that every workplace undertake a static control assessment and that those workplaces found to have a static electricity or lightning hazard, apply a static control plan.


Locations that were once thought safe from static such as parks or schools, public spaces and buildings, offices etc. are reporting static shock incidents. In 2019 a worker in an office building experienced a static shock while walking to the lifts in her building. Whilst the static shock was low in terms of current, the worker tripped and fell to the floor sustaining injuries that required hospitalization.

The truth at one time may have been that static was more nuisance than a hazard. Today however, the facts are that static is a hazard requiring investigation. In most cases the associated risks are minimal. However there are applications, processes, activities where static is present, that occur in Australia and NZ everyday, that are hazardous and high risk.

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