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Question In my facility, it has been deemed that company supplied smocks and cotton work shirts are equal in the ESD world. If a person wore a cotton shirt instead of a smock are they compliant, even with a wrist or heel strap ground. - Anonymous, Tallahassee, FL
Answer Good question.
From Question and Answer set # 371

"Cotton may be suitable for your work environment as it tends to triboelectric generate less than most synthetic materials. ESD Smocks are used for a couple of reasons, some of which are: 1) for programs with HBM/CDM/MM ESD component classifications of 0. 2) to control electric field problems caused by human hair, street clothing that may come into near proximity of ESD Sensitive devices. 3) for managerial/organizational purposes by making it easy to identify folks who should or shouldn’t be in ESD Safe working areas. If you’ve determined that the clothing worn by your employees doesn’t cause ESD concerns relative to the strictness of your Control Program, or that cotton T-shirts satisfy these requirements, then by all means employ them. You may want to verify this by taking field measurements and comparing the results with the constraints of your internal ESD Control Program."

However, if your ESD Control program is run under tight contraints for very sensitive devices (Class 0 or 1 HBM and CDM models) then you may need to use conductive outerwear (smocks) that can be grounded to minimize exposure of street clothing that tends to be static generative and insulative (will hold an electric field).
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