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Anti-static gloves providing protection against ESD pursuant to standard CEI EN 61340-5-1

IEC EN 61340-5-1

Standard EN 61340-5-1 addresses the prevention of an often underestimated but insidious phenomenon, to be taken into due account, especially in an industrial environment: static electricity.

For instance, you may perceive a mild electric shock sensation when you comb your hair, walk in rubber-soled shoes, get out of a car, wear nylon clothes, shake hands with someone or simply turn a handle.

Why does the static electricity phenomenon occur?

On a particularly dry day (i.e., when the air contains fewer water molecules), two materials or surfaces with opposite electrical charges coming into contact with one another (through rubbing or friction) may trigger an exchange of electrons.

In this case, the materials in question accumulate “static electricity” – known in technical jargon as “triboelectricity” – and a phenomenon known as “electrostatic discharge” may occur.

Over time, if it is not discharged to the ground, electrostatic energy can accumulate in the surrounding air and also on surfaces, such as those of equipment, machinery, floors, industrial dust. Accordingly, an electrostatic discharge (ESD) can occur when a worker comes into contact, even inadvertently, with metal objects, textiles, paper or plastic items. All you have to do to gain a better understanding of this risk is consider that lightning is an electrostatic phenomenon.

What are the possible hazards?

In itself, static electricity is not dangerous to humans. Thus, it is hardly perceived as a real danger. However, there are circumstances that make it necessary to put in place preventive measures, especially in an industrial context, as provided for by standards such as IEC EN 61340-5-1.

Potential hazards include:

  • Damaging the electronic components (especially integrated circuits in ESD environments)
  • Endangering the safety of the workers themselves (who may be exposed – even fortuitously and unpredictably – to accidents due to sudden movements prompted by an electrical discharge)
  • Fires and explosions, especially in an industrial context, when electrostatic discharges trigger reactions in flammable dusts and materials in ATEX environments

The facilities most exposed to this type of hazard are those where flammable materials are handled (in solid, gaseous or liquid phases); the sectors most at risk are the biomedical, food processing and printing industries. But the dangers cannot be ruled out in other production sectors as well.

Activities most at risk according to standards IEC EN 61340-5-1

Some processes and activities in a company can generate more than others an accumulation of static electricity (posing direct or indirect risks in the working environment). Here are some examples:  

  • Walking on surfaces made of synthetic materials
  • Friction with clothes made of synthetic fabrics
  • Transferring liquids in plastic containers
  • Deploying adhesive tapes
  • Using conveyor belts
  • Winding plastic films, fabrics or other dielectric materials
  • Crushing and grinding processes (accumulation of charges on the materials processed and tools)
  • Pneumatic handling of dust (accumulation of charges on conduit walls)
  • Liquid transfer (accumulation of charges in liquids and pipes)
  • Spraying liquids (accumulation of charges on the “drops”)
  • Transport on trolleys with rubber-plastic wheels
  • Winding plastic films or fabrics

Prevention is essential

To defend oneself against an invisible and unpredictable enemy such as electrostatic discharge, preventive measures have to be put in place at several levels, irrespective of humidity conditions in the environment. There are three main lines of action:

  • Equip machines and systems with appropriate antistatic devices.
  • Use protective clothing, shoes and “conductive” PPE, made of anti-static materials (avoiding synthetic materials and choosing materials such as cotton or silk, for example).
  • Manage environmental variables in order to avoid charge recombination (e.g., install misting systems to increase humidity in the air and on the machines).

Needless to say, in this particular area of risk, regulatory activities have addressed both personal protection and product protection: 

  • Standard EN 16350 (personal protection): protective gloves
  • Standard EN 1149-5 (personal protection): protective clothing
  • Standard IEC EN 61340-5-1 (product protection): Devices for the protection of electronic devices from electrostatic phenomena (including protective gloves)

Certified gloves for effective antistatic protection: standard EIC EN 61340-5-1

As for personal protective equipment (PPE), we would like to focus in particular on anti-static gloves regulated by standard EN 16350 and conforming to IEC EN 61340-5-1.

Anti-static gloves conforming to IEC EN 61340-5-1, in fact, are ideally suitable for use even in EPAs (ESD protected areas), providing users with effective protection.  

It should be noted that the acronym ESD (ElectroStatic Discharge) refers to the phenomenon of a static energy discharge passing from one body to another with two opposite electrical charges.

Safety Systems Hand Protection supplies a wide range of anti-static gloves conforming to IEC EN 61340-5-1 for effective protection against electrostatic hazards:

As mentioned above, understanding the origins and dangers of electrostatic charges and taking appropriate preventive measures are essential steps to ensure safety at work and protect people, products and industrial systems.

For more information on anti-static gloves conforming to IEC EN 61340-5-1 and to request the explanatory pdf on product and personal protection standards write to