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Question Are wrist straps just as powerful as smocks? Are my co-workers deluded in believing that their wrist straps are dissipating charges from loosely worn polyester-type street clothing as effectively as smocks?
Answer Insulative clothing cannot have electrostatic charges removed to ground; by definition a conductor is required. Per ESD Handbook TR20.20 “The wrist strap is the first line of defense in personnel grounding”. In addition, ESD Statshield® Jackets, Lab Coats, and Economy Smocks being made with fabric with conductive nylon fibers can be grounded removing charges from the ESD garment.

Per ESD Handbook TR 20.20 paragraph “While a person may be grounded using a wrist strap or other grounding methods, that does not mean that insulative clothing fabrics can dissipate a charge to that person's skin and then to ground. Clothing usually is electrically separate or isolated from the body.”

Per ESD Handbook TR 20.20 paragraph Proper Use “After verifying that the garment has electrical conductivity through all panels, the garment should be electrically bonded to the grounding system of the wearer so as not to act as a floating [conductor]. Garments should be worn with the front properly snapped or buttoned to avoid exposure of possible charges on personal clothing worn under the garment.” The ESD garment then creates a type of Faraday Cage shielding ESDS products from static charges on the clothing.
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