August, 2006

200601AugAll DayStatic electricityProcess Safety Beacon | Never have ungrounded conductive parts in a system handling flammablesLessons:Operating Procedures,Operational IntegrityLanguage:EN Origin: CCPS Document Type:BulletinTopics:Flammable Atmospheres


A customer was filling an ungrounded gasoline can in the cargo area of a truck when the vapors were ignited by a static electric discharge. The fire caused severe damage to the truck and the gasoline station. The customer suffered severe burns on both legs, and it could have been much worse if four bystanders had not managed to extinguish the flames using their own clothing.

This incident reminds us of the consequences of failing to recognize static electric ignition hazards of containers, piping, and any equipment used to handle flammable and combustible liquids or gases, combustible mists, or combustible dusts

Did you know?
• Static electric charges on material, equipment, and people result from materials contacting each other and then being separated. Electric charge can transfer from one of the materials to the other, and this charge will build up if it cannot flow to ground.
• Solids or liquid drops falling through air can create static charges on the solids or drops.
• Static electric discharges can be sufficiently energetic to ignite a flammable atmosphere – for example the vapors from a flammable liquid or a combustible dust cloud.
• The first defense against static ignition is to eliminate the flammable atmosphere if possible. If this is not possible, it is important to prevent and control electrostatic charge accumulation.
• Bonding means that conductive parts of equipment are connected to each other so there can be no electric discharges between the parts.
• Grounding means that conductive parts of equipment are connected to an electrical ground, preventing electric discharges to ground.

© AIChE | Sponsored by CCPS Supporters


CCPSCenter for Chemical Process Safety