What Is Anti-Static Workwear and Why Should It Be Worn?

Posted June 10, 2019

They say that “clothes make the man”—and for many career paths, that adage holds especially true. Often, you can guess at a person’s profession based on the type of clothing they wear: doctors wear white coats, nurses wear scrubs, construction workers wear helmets, and miners wear heavy-duty work boots.

The same principle applies to anti-static workwear, a form of specialised safety workwear clothing. For labourers in industrial applications that involve electricity—as well as handling water and flammable fluids—anti-static workwear serves both an aesthetic and protective function.

Curious about the rationale behind anti-static workwear? What are the qualities that matter when one chooses anti-static garments? Read below to learn more!

What is the Rationale behind Using Anti-Static Workwear?

When we think of electrical charges, machines are usually the first thing that comes to mind. Sometimes, we forget that electrical charges can also be generated by humans—and, in fact, an action such as walking across a carpet can generate as much as 35,000 volts.

Of course, this isn’t something that flies past responsible businesses. Companies that spearhead electrical or manufacturing work remind their labourers to be careful of electrostatic discharge (ESD), colloquially known as “static.” Static can be accumulated from materials such as paper and wood, but also from wearable materials such as silk, wool, nylon, fur, cotton, rubber, rayon, or polyester.  If a worker touches metal after being in contact with those items, it will result in a small electrical spark.

Prolonged exposure to static can damage work materials and equipment. But there are human concerns to uncontrollable ESD as well. Labourers may risk being caught in a fire or explosion if the ESD sparks ignite flammable liquids or gases. Thus, it is crucial to limit the generation of static, to use appropriate equipment for monitoring ESD, and to educate both staff members and clients on the damage that ESD is capable of.

Thankfully, it’s easy to control ESD if one has anti-static garments in their possession. Anti-static workwear items gain their ESD-countering properties from the conductive threads that are woven into them. They’re manufactured to work as wearable Faraday cages, or enclosures that can block out electromagnetic fields.

Choosing the Right Anti-Static Workwear for Everyday Work Applications

To electricians and other labourers employed in related industries, choosing high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE) is not only a matter of better performance. It is also a matter of guaranteed safety and security.

Some factors that play into their choice of anti-static garment are the following:

  • Material. Certain materials lend themselves easily to usage as anti-static workwear. In terms of resilience against ESD, one’s best bet is to buy man-made fabrics incorporating rubber and plastic into their fibres. Many workers favour a polyester and cotton fabric blend with antistatic fibres, as this blend can stretch, generates minimal static electricity, and can safely release any generated static into the air.
  • Clothing types. Anti-static workwear is sold in different forms. The most common types of clothing used in industry are anti-static vests, overalls, long-sleeved work shirts, polo shirts, and aprons. Labourers can choose pieces of clothing that mitigate ESD, but enable maximum freedom of movement for their chosen application.
  • Durability. Not all anti-static workwear is of the same calibre, and one must be wary of the cheap and flimsy varieties. Inferior pieces of anti-static workwear actually lose their full capacity to work against ESD after only a few washes. Thus, it’s good practice not to scrimp, to find a reputable supplier of anti-static workwear and other PPEs, and to select high-quality items that can last a minimum of 50 industrial washes.

In summary, anti-static workwear helps tame those damaging ESD sparks. It also enables concerned professionals to complete their daily work with optimum efficiency and security. Cheers to those involved in such industries—that they stay well-dressed and at their best!

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