Static electricity is the localised accumulation of electric charge on the surface of a body made of insulating material. Accumulation of electricity can be hazardous both in terms of damage to electronic equipment and risks of flammability and explosion in ATEX environments. EN 16350 standard provides additional requirements to protect products and persons.
Accumulations of static electricity can be created by friction, and, when that charge remains localised, it can generate an electric field and the familiar “shock” effect. This is especially pronounced on dry days, because humidity is a good conductor which allows charges to dissipate before creating significant electrical potential.
ATEX (EXplosive ATmospheres) refers to areas with an explosive atmosphere, i.e. an atmosphere with a mixture of flammable gas, vapour or mist substances, or fuels in a powder state with air or a combustive agent, in specific atmospheric conditions where, if ignited, combustion will spread through the flammable mixture. Therefore we highlight the universal feature of this document whose perspective is to level out the European and International Anglo-Saxon standards in a consolidated text.
EPA (Electrostatic Protected Area) refers to a delineated and well signposted area, which could be a department, warehouse or individual workstation, where the risk of damage to electrostatic sensitive devices is minimised. Accumulation of static electricity can be prevented by using conductive equipment which allows the accumulated static electricity to discharge, provided that the “earthing” chain (gloves/clothing/other PPE/shoes/floor) is adhered to. This equipment must also include protective gloves.
EN 16350 standard
The EN 16350 standard provides additional requirements for protective gloves that are worn in areas where there are or may be flammable or explosive areas. It specifies a test method and requirements for performance, marking and information to minimise the risk of explosion.
EN 16350 is the only valid standard for gloves with electrostatic properties. Gloves tested to this standard can also be used effectively in ESD protected areas (EPAs) as gloves to protect the product.
The EN 16350 standard specifies that all the materials contained in the glove must have a vertical resistance lower than R < 1.0 x 108 Ω for use in explosive environments where EN 1149 may not always be suitable.
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