Step 2 of 4•1 minute read
The most important countermeasure that must be taken to prevent an electrostatic hazard is to bond all metallic objects together to eliminate the risk of discharges between objects that might be charged and electrically insulated. To avoid discharges from conductors to earth, it is normal practice to include bonding to earth (‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’). On ships, bonding to earth is effectively accomplished by connecting metallic objects to the metal structure of the ship, which is naturally earthed through the sea.
Some examples of objects which might be electrically insulated in hazardous situations and which must therefore be bonded are:
The best method of ensuring bonding and earthing will usually be a metallic connection between the conductors. Alternative means of bonding are available and have proved effective in some applications, for example semi-conductive (dissipative) pipes and ‘O’ rings, rather than embedded metallic layers, for GRP pipes and their metal couplings.
Any earthing or bonding links used as a safeguard against the hazards of static electricity associated with portable equipment must be connected whenever the equipment is set up and not disconnected until after the equipment is no longer in use.
Certain objects may be insulated during tanker operations, for example:
Every effort should be made to ensure that such objects are removed from the tank since there is evidently no possibility of deliberately bonding them. This necessitates careful inspection of tanks, particularly after shipyard repairs.
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