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The Importance of ESD Shoes in the Workplace

If the electrical and electronic sectors of the workplace are where you spend your days, you know that the safety of electronics like printed circuit boards is crucial. And part of workplace safety has to do with wearing the right safety shoes. For more information on how ESD-safe shoes help high-risk companies of electrostatic discharge keep their employees safe, see this article.

All About ESD Shoes

What are ESD shoes?

ESD shoes are also known as electrostatic dissipative shoes. The purpose of this type of footwear is to reduce static discharge and consequently prevent ESD damage in the workplace.

ESD shoes are only among the essential equipment that an employee should use when mobility is required. For example, walking to a storage area whilst holding static sensitive components. Other essential equipment include ESD garments, ESD gloves, wrist-straps, and ESD mats and floors.

How do ESD-safe shoes work?

In environments with low humidity, static electricity is more likely to build up. Static electricity results from two different materials coming in contact with each other, thus producing an electrostatic charge. If the electrostatic charge transfers from, say, a human body to electronic components, ESD can occur.

For humans, ESD events are typically harmless. Static sensitive electronic devices, on the other hand, can be inflicted with irreversible damage due to electrostatic discharge.

To promote safety in the workplace and prevent damage to electronics, ESD-safe shoes have become a piece of necessary and effective equipment. ESD-safe footwear prevents static electricity from building up. It helps direct static electricity to the ground in conjunction with the use of ESD-safe matting or flooring, dissipating charges as people walk across floors.

When should you wear ESD-safe shoes?

For specific professions and industries such as electronics manufacturing and Cleanrooms, it’s highly important to wear ESD footwear, particularly in ESD protected areas. ESD shoes are a common requirement in industries that manufacture, produce, test, and handle electronic devices and components. Aside from these, they’re also worn by people in the explosives industry.

ESD Damage in the Workplace

Sources of ESD Damage to Electronics

ESD damage to electronics can come from various sources. A primary source is people, those who need to handle or assemble the electronic equipment. Another source is the type of clothing worn by personnel. Static-friendly clothes are not recommended for wear, as they can cause problems in the workplace. Examples of static-friendly clothing are wool, silk, rayon, polyester, and other fabrics made of synthetic material.

Work surfaces that are not static-safe are another culprit of ESD damage. To protect against this, plastic or waxed work surfaces should be avoided. Various equipment, including conveyors, blowers, and plastic tools, can also produce charges that result in ESD. Specific flooring systems, such as vinyl floors, are a common source as well.

ESD Damage: A Look at Numbers

For companies within the electronics industry, the impact of ESD damage can be outright costly in many ways. ESD problems in the workplace can negatively impact a company’s annual revenues. It’s estimated that businesses lose up to $5 billion (£3.7 billion) each year. Meanwhile, it’s said that a quarter of electronic part failures are caused by electrostatic discharge. Product failures due to ESD not only translate to profit losses but also influences the yield and quality of products. Subsequently, poor quality affects how customers view a product—and the business—which can cause customer satisfaction to plummet.

A well-implemented ESD plan involves investing in the right mats and flooring. For personnel, this entails wearing the right kind of safety garments and safety shoes.

Wearing the Right ESD Safety Shoes

How the Right ESD Shoes Can Help Protect Employees

Unlike ordinary footwear, ESD safety shoes are designed with static damage prevention in mind. If you wear normal footwear to a workplace that necessitates ESD shoes, this can cause significant problems such as product failure.

There are various kinds of ESD footwear, from ESD straps for heels, toes, and soles to shoes. Out of all these options, the ESD shoes provide the most contact with ESD floors along with being practical and comfortable.

Choosing ESD Safety Shoes in the UK

When selecting which ESD-safe shoes to wear in the workplace, you must consider the following factors:

Level of static protection

This is the first feature you should look for in any ESD footwear. Ensure that it gives you the correct level of static control in the workplace. With ESD footwear, the electrical resistance of the system (from the person and their footwear to the floor) is less than 1,0 x 10^(9) Ω. Additionally, don’t forget to look for the ESD marking in the shoe, as this shows that it was made in compliance with ESD standards.

Material

For the utmost comfortability even while working, go for shoes made from soft but durable leather. Make sure that the material of the shoe is breathable and can keep your feet cool during working hours.

Style

ESD shoes don’t come in a single style. Depending on your preference, you can go for trainers, clogs, slip-ons, laced shoes, loafers, and more.

Fit

Last but not the least, check that the shoes are a correct fit and are comfortable to wear. They should have plenty of room for your toes, as well as balanced insoles and correct arch support.

Bondline ESD Footwear: Combining Comfort and Correct Static Protection

Invest in the right ESD shoes today to help keep your workplace and static sensitive electronics static-free.

If you’re looking for ESD safety shoes in the UK that provide both comfort and correct static control, check out Bondline’s ESD shoe range today. At Bondline, we offer men’s and ladies’ ESD safety shoes, lightweight ESD safety shoes, and white ESD safety shoes.

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For more information about our ESD safety shoes, get in touch with us today.

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