ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) Handling Guidelines

We have all seen electrostatic discharge (or ESD) in the form of lightning or perhaps felt the zap when reaching for a doorknob. Similar types of electrical charges can influence the electronic components you handle every day in your work. Unfortunately, their effect is much more hazardous and not as readily apparent. Listed below are preventative steps to use in dealing with static-sensitive devices.

  1. Be ESD awareness trained and certified.
  2. Process ESDS (electrostatic discharge sensitive) parts/assemblies at a certified ESD-protected workstation.
  3. Wear a static neutral/dissipative smock covering all clothing from the waist up.
  4. Wear a wrist strap, grounded smock, or foot strap on each foot (a wrist strap must be worn while seated).
  5. Test daily the wrist strap or foot straps and log results or use a continuous monitoring system. If the test fails or the continuous-monitoring alarm is set off, replace the discrepant strap immediately.
  6. Verify wrist strap ground connection before exposing ESDS parts.
  7. Keep bench mats clean.
  8. Keep non-conductive ESD-generating material and personal items out of the ESD-protected area/workstation.
  9. Essential materials/instructions shall be kept greater than 12 inches from exposed ESDS devices/assemblies.
  10. Conduct taping operations in an ionized airstream.
  11. Package and keep all ESDS devices/assemblies in static shielding bags or static shielding-covered tote boxes when not being processed. Shielded tote boxes used in a cleanroom environment shall be washed after each production order with a commercial-grade cleaner. Static shielding bags shall be free of tears or holes along any seam or surface. Exposed metalized surfaces are functional when free of bare spots.
  12. Move ESDS devices/assemblies between areas in ESD protective packaging or use a cart with a drag chain.
  13. Never leave unprotected ESDS parts/assemblies unattended.
  14. Protect failed parts from further damage by handling and packaging them with the same care as a new part.
  15. Pick up ESDS devices preferably by the body of the component instead of by the leads and only when grounded at an ESD-protected workstation. Whenever possible avoid activities that result in sliding ESDS devices on surfaces or against one another.
  16. Under no circumstances touch an operator that is holding an ESDS device/assembly. Transfer of ESDS items shall be accomplished by placing the item on the grounded work surface and then picked up by the second grounded person.
  17. Make certain “visitors” to the area comply with ESD requirements.
  18. When the relative humidity has been determined to be <30%, stop work and place all ESDS devices/assemblies in protected packaging until informed that the humidity has increased to >30%.
  19. Computer and oscilloscope screens shall be placed a minimum of 24 inches from exposed ESDS devices/assemblies.
  20. Report any discrepancies or non-functioning protective devices and any condition that may compromise the ESD program to the supervisor or lead.