Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown.

You probably know it from that time you touched a handrail and ‘shocked’ yourself. Or perhaps when you were a kid and you’d shuffle along the carpet to touch your sibling or friend on the arm to give them a little bolt of lightning.

When you’re a kid it’s all fun and games. But in a workplace, a production facility or a chemical plant, those ‘little’ shocks can destroy a product, or even take down an entire facility sparking an explosion.

Electrostatic discharge is a serious and dangerous risk that companies simply cannot take lightly.

In 2007 a massive blaze engulfed the Caswell Adhesives factory in Corby, Northamptonshire. It was a huge and toxic blaze. The BBC reported at the time that 35 fire fighters had to be treated in hospital after breathing in the ensuing chemical fumes.

After the blaze was extinguished investigations found that static electricity was the cause, which ignited vapours and took down the factory. Luckily, no one was killed.

Then in January 2014, in Powhatan, Virginia, United States a woman was innocently filling up her car at a gas station. While the nozzle was filling up the car she got back into it. When she got out it’s believed that the static electricity she’d generated from getting in and out of her car ignited fuel vapours, which led to her car and the petrol station catching fire – causing untold damage.

The risk of ESD is real and an ever present threat, particularly in workplaces with combustible vapours, chemicals or liquids. For companies dealing in these kinds of substances and materials having the right kind of ESD chairs and workbenches can mean the difference between ongoing operation and a fire-razed warehouse.

It might sounds simple but by simply using ESD approved furniture a company can protect their most valuable asset – the company itself. Sometimes the best ways to protect the crucial assets of a business is to employ the most obvious and simple measures.

With ESD protected chairs and workbenches you already go a long way to keeping your business running and your employees safe.