ESD Flooring: Important Considerations for Healthcare Designers
ESD Flooring is the type of flooring healthcare designers should know about for use in environments where electrostatic discharge can become an obstacle to health and safety.
Historically, electrostatic discharge in hospitals has been an important consideration for spaces that handle flammable or explosive materials.
In present-day healthcare design, precautions against electrostatic discharge is an important consideration in spaces that handle or store flammable or explosive gases, or in areas where sensitive and sophisticated equipment is used for imaging, diagnostics, and treatment.
Examples of these spaces include operating rooms and pre-op staging areas, anesthesiology, intensive care units, laboratories, and MRI and CT imaging areas.
In healthcare facilities, static electricity can cause many different problems from:
- The unpleasant electrostatic shock experienced by personnel in the routine handling of equipment during their daily rounds.
- Electromagnetic disturbances (EMI) of computing equipment, medical devices, and advanced imaging equipment.
- The malfunctioning of technologically sophisticated equipment and risks to patient safety.
- Interruptions to patients’ wellbeing in their routine interaction with hospital furnishings.
- Problems with infection control due to the accumulation of dust and dirt on surfaces.
- Danger from ignition and explosion of volatile chemical agents.
This problem is compounded by the increasing use of technologically sophisticated equipment, and the increased reliance on information processing for retrieving sensitive patient information, and for understanding the full scope of diagnostic and treatment options. The complexity of technologies currently in use today, in top-tier hospital environments, will undoubtedly increase in the future.
Other issues present themselves in the materials of construction. The perceived need to insulate from shock has led to an increase in the use of plastics and synthetics in furniture, patient bed linens, and flooring, however, these have actually been implicated in an increased incidence of charge generation. This further impacts the comfort and safety of patients, the number one priority in healthcare design.
In these contexts, it is usually sufficient to have two stop-gaps for static control: in the furniture and in the flooring. Electrically conductive materials and systems, such as ESD flooring, enable grounding of the healthcare environment.
Take a look at our ESD Flooring installed at medical school, Harvard University here.
If you have questions about specifying static control flooring – feel free to contact a StaticSmart representative at 800-225-6052 or email [email protected].