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Question We repair monitors and power supplies here and are having a debate over what type of ESD controls can be used in the high voltage areas. We are currently requiring all employees to wear cotton and polyester smocks with 1% nylon w/carbon running through. Most employees are also required to wear heel and wrist straps. High voltage workers at this point do not wear any straps at all. The workers do not even want to wear the smocks saying that it is increasing their chance of shock. What is your opinion of the subject. High Voltage workers stand on an insulated floor. Thanks - Lynne Wilcox, Cerplex, Lowell, MA
Answer 1st, what is the voltage levels? If they are under 250 VAC, then standard ESD control practices with UL approved items would be sufficiently safe. If your high voltages are over 250 VAC, then the safety of the worker always comes first, before any ESD control practices are considered. From an electrical engineering stance for the case of the ESD smock, whether the smock is grounded or not, it should not cause a substantial risk to exposure of high voltage, unless a wrist strap bonds the skin to the smock. The smock isolated from the human skin would act as a Faraday Cage, and when excited by an electrical current, would conduct the current on the outer surface of the smock and not travel through the human body. BUT, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO IF THERE IS EVER ANY DOUBT, THE SAFETY OF THE PERSON ALWAYS COMES FIRST.
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