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Here in the office we suffer a lot with static shocks, all day long when people touch each other, open a door or grab a coffee. It's really a pain.

This is what the office looks like:
Office picture

We have A/C on. Air humidity ranges between 40% to 50%. Outside temperature is around 28ºC and indoor temperature is around 23ºC. I don't know if it matters, but the floor is some sort of fake wood layer. I don't know the material.

I don't know what else to say. We have a lot of computers, no-breaks on the floor and electronics devices.

What can be causing these shocks, and how can it be prevented?

  • What is a no-break? – Mathieu K. Jul 20 '17 at 13:19
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    My experience is that cotton clothing builds up static less than synthetics do. My winter jacket and/or hoodie are usually the culprits, for me anyway, since I tend to wear all-cotton clothing otherwise (with exception of socks, since those are almost always a blend). – Mathieu K. Jul 20 '17 at 13:22
  • I agree the flooring is the likely culprit, but you can reduce/eliminate static build up in your clothing by always using fabric conditioner when you do the laundry, especially if you wear synthetics. – Bamboo Jul 28 '17 at 15:20
  • I did a course on static damage in the lab. The greatest culprit is the human being - a big bag of electrolyte covered in cloth and moving around touching stuff. – RedSonja Oct 11 '17 at 7:31
  • Rebuild your office to contain less plastic and more grounding. – Overmind Oct 16 '17 at 8:59
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Ground yourself as frequently as possible to release the built-up static electricity:

  • If your desk has metal legs, touch one of the legs whenever you get up from or sit down at your desk.
  • The windowed meeting room (??) on the left of the picture has a metal frames that reach the floor. Touch those as you pass by.
  • If doors have metal frames, touch them as you walk through.
  • Find other metal things in your office that touch the floor, and touch them each time you are near.

This won't prevent static charge, but it will (may) minimize it to the point that you won't notice it.

3

To discharge your static potential without shocking yourself, take a coin from your pocket and touch it to a metal doorframe or other ground.

3

Weather conditions, physical activity, and modern building materials work together to zap us.

Probably, the main problem is the floor material unless the floor is specially formulated polymer flooring used to control static electricity build-up. Almost all shoe soles have rubber and polyurethane composition. When the shoe soles move across normal laminate floors, a static charge is generated.

The laminated floor, chairs (wheels, upholstery, trim), desks, walls (alkyd or latex paint), and ceiling (alkyd or latex paint) are plastic composition which increases static electricity build-up. Glass walls can also increase static electricity buildup.

Increase the humidity to lessen or prevent static electricity discharges. Get some large floor plants into the area.

You might also try application of staticide by the cleaning crews during nighttime cleaning and maintenance.

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I see a few alu apple computers. As for the PCs, add a thin strip/filament of wire to the keyboard palmrests. Ensure all computers have real grounding. The same applies to water coolers (the panels and nozzles are usually metal). Use discreet wiring to ground everything. Don't ground chairs, it's silly.

Static builds up more in dry locales, make sure your AC unit is not reporting false value on humidity. In any case, there is some tech that can debuff your environment. See this. It smells a bit like a lightningstorm, but is otherwise harmless.

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I worked for a while in a lab with very sensitive electrical equipment. To protect it (and us) from static shocks, we all had special anti-static sandals. The company paid for them. We we not allowed into the lab without these sandals, and visitors got grounding straps inserted into their shoes.

I still wear these sandals at work, and they are marvellous.

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    Work shoes, including some with toe caps (steel or other, I do not know) sometimes include the anti static strip, and I can asure you that they work. – Willeke Oct 10 '17 at 19:37
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This is going to sound mad but it works for us. I work in a carpeted office and depending on the shoes I wear I get more shocks on some days rather than others as do a few people ... Our solution and prepare for a mad answer stroking the door before we touch the handle.

It sounds crazy but if we are about to touch anything metal we are all now pretty much in the habit of running our hands over the wooden door or the bear wall before we do so and it works ... Which is good cause I got one hell of a shock the other day and now have little burns on my finger tip ... Ouch!

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when I am in a dry environment where static buildup is a problem, I touch (for example) a door knob or a latch handle with the side of my arm or my elbow first before I touch it with my hand. those parts of the arm are less sensitive and the shock experience is milder.

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It looks like the static build up might be coming from the office chairs and the floor. Try and get a ESD chain and tie it to the chair on a metal part. The chain will drag around on the floor slightly to keep you grounded.

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