Electrostatic ignitions in everyday chemical operations: Three case histories



In operations where there are flammable or combustible materials it is axiomatic that all conductive equipment be firmly bonded and grounded. Even though vigilance to such matters may be exercised in a given operation there may be times where detail are overlooked or deemed to be of no consequence; and, in some cases, these detail can have dire conesquences. This paper sets forth three such case histories where proper grounding was not done and an electrostatic ignition resulted.

The first example is the drawin of a sample of toluene into a metal pail - a common, everyday operation which had been done many times before. The second example is pumping toluene into a reactor through a chemical hose where the stiffening wires were not bonded to the couplings, an “everyday” operation. The third examle is the offloading of an aluminum powder from a bulk truck - a one-time, makeshift operation. These examples are discussed to give operators an appreciation for the vigilance required to keep all conductive objects grounded in chemical operations where flammabel or combustible material are present.