Organisational Factors » LTA hazard analysis/job safety analysis » Static electricity discharge

10Shock from an Electrostatic Discharge

Click to view link.

Brief Description of Incident/Accident & Description of Consequences/Outcomes:

In certain circumstances electrostatic charges can build up on materials that when touched by a person can cause immediate pain and a potential reaction leading to further injuries.

A drill rig operator received a severe electrostatic shock when he stepped on or touched the PVC pipe shown in the photograph below.

As the operator was climbing onto the driller’s operating platform, he had one foot on the platform and the other on or near the PVC pipe. He felt the shock through his legs and it also caused him to fall over. The magnitude of the shock caused the operator severe pain and he felt ill. He was taken to hospital and put under observation for several hours.

Identified Root Causes:

Static Electricity discharge

Energy Type(s) Involved:

The potential to cause a fatality from electrostatic shock in this situation is unknown. However, the potential to cause a person severe injuries due to a fall as a result of such a shock is high. There is a potential to cause an ignition of methane (where applicable) upon such an energy discharge.

Equipment Type(s):

? GD1400 truck mounted drill rig fitted with 700cfm 250 psi compressor.? 6 metre 100mm PVC pipe Class PN 9 pipe to AS/NZS 1477.? ?Washington? diverter.

Root & Contributing Cause(s):

Static electricity discharge

Stated or Potential Consequence(s):

Potential Fatality

Preventative/Recommended/Accepted Steps of Risk Mitigation, Points of Interest:

The controls necessary to prevent similar incidents may include one or more of the following:

  • use "anti static" pipes/hoses for the attachments to the "Washington diverter"
  • use earthing strap/cables between the pipes and rig and ground
  • use metallic pipes
  • where possible, avoid using dry drilling.

Be aware of the possibility of electrostatic charge build-up in low humidity conditions.


Queensland Government Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI)


Here are the results.


Reference Type:

Safety Bulletin #72

Mine Type:

Any Mine Type







Australia, Queensland

ICAM Categories

Organisational Factors

• LTA awareness

• LTA hazard analysis/job safety analysis

• LTA procurement

Task or Environmental Conditions


Individual or Team Actions


Failed or Absent Defences


©2020 ISOLgate