The build-up of electrostatic potential is hazardous not only to crews but also to any equipment that is used. In order to avoid such a risk, properly placing static grounding is essential. Typically, an electrostatic charge is the result of stored energy that is looking for somewhere to discharge. If discharged in an uncontrolled manner, a spark can form which would rapidly ignite in the presence of any flammable vapor. There is a great possibility that ignition would occur with such a rapid interaction, resulting in a major catastrophe.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) in an effort to improve operational safety has drafted API 2219 standards to members addressing a hazard caused by electrostatic potential directly involving the vacuum truck hauling of combustible and flammable materials. An important instruction regarding this matter is that a crew needs to be sure before starting a transfer that the truck is fully grounded by wiring it to “a designated, proven ground source.” This will protect the health and safety of employees, bystanders, and the environment.
An object with low resistance that is buried in the earth is considered a good ground source. The connection made in such a ground source will eliminate electrostatic charges from equipment; this will protect employees and equipment from the risk of explosion and fire. According to the standard, the resistance of a connection between the designated grounding point and the equipment should be verified to be less than 10 ohms and verified by an ohmmeter.
If an operator should detect that grounding is negative, the connector can be reattached to another buried rod. If no buried rods are available, a conductive solution can be poured around the rod to enhance the conductivity of the soil. In other cases of negative resistance, a clamp may needed with teeth to grip through the resistance inhibitors or any dirt, rust, or coatings may need to be cleared before clamping the connection.
It only takes a spark to explode flammable materials at a worksite which can be avoided by proper vehicle grounding. A vacuum truck purchased from a vac truck for sale dealer must protect both the vehicle and any workers from the dangers of static electricity to vacuum truck operations!
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