Static electricity – it sounds pretty innocuous but imagine what could happen when a seemingly insignificant spark comes into contact with an explosive liquid. A split second is all it takes for a tiny spark to create a full-blown disaster.
Static electricity, also referred to as “The Invisible Enemy”, cannot be seen but is everywhere. There’s really no way to completely eradicate it. That’s why if your company deals with flammable liquids it is imperative that you protect yourself and your workers from stray sparks by using proper bonding and grounding. When handling flammable liquids, it’s easy to generate static electricity with even simple activities such as pumping, pouring, mixing, filtering or agitating liquids.
Static electricity can be controlled with proper bonding and grounding. Bonding connects pieces of conductive equipment to keep them at the same potential. This way static sparking cannot take place when connected objects have the same potential. Grounding is a special form of bonding that connects conductive equipment to the earth to prevent sparking between the conductive equipment and grounded structures.
A metal-to-metal connection must be maintained between the bonding and grounding cables and the containers at all times in order to be effective. That means no dirt, rust, paint, etc. can get in the way of the connection.
Okay, so how do you know if you are grounded effectively? Are you willing to bet your life on it? You may have to. Being properly grounded means being connected to the earth through a ground connection or connections that ensure there’s no buildup of voltage that could result in a fire or explosion.
Proper installation of bonding and grounding equipment is essential. At the time of installation a resistance test should be performed to confirm electrical continuity to ground. There should be an effective inspection and maintenance program set up for all workers to follow. This way the continuity and adequacy of the system is consistently ensured.
When a tank truck grounding system is installed it is often assumed that the ground source the system is connected to has been independently verified. Don’t assume. It’s the site operator’s responsibility to conduct seasonal testing to ensure ground connections have not deteriorated over time.
Many workers just rely on visual means to confirm that a ground clamp and lead are in place for proper grounding or bonding. Now there are “electronic verification systems” that can take the guesswork out of proper grounding techniques. These systems offer a constant means of visual and electronic confirmation of ground to a high-integrity ground point. Through “interlock” functions these systems control pumps, valves, motors and more. Some systems have sound alarms, too.
Interlocking the feed system with the grounding system is ideal because it ensures that if connections are not properly made, the product will not be transferred until the situation has been rectified. This type of set up will:
- only allow product transfer when the tank truck is grounded.
- automatically confirm positive static ground connection.
- continuously monitor clamp and ground connection during transfer.
Your company can prevent static-ignited fires and explosions with a static ground indicator and interlock system. Effective grounding and bonding is necessary to ensure safe dissipation of static electricity.
A system from Carbis Fluid Handling will provide positive verification of static ground connections on industrial equipment including: drums, railcars, containers and other conductive equipment. Keep your employees and equipment safe with proper bonding and grounding equipment from Carbis Fluid Handling.