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Our company has moved in a new office recently.

The office is quite big space and our zone is separated with glass walls with metal frames:

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Employees are sitting at tables that have cheap (ikea-like) wooden top and metal legs. My setup is iMac (metal body), external monitor (plastic), iMac connected to external monitor and also I have a metal dock station for iPhone (also metal).

So main problem is that we are constantly being zapped by static electricity by:

  • door knob (metal)
  • metal components of electric devices
  • whiteboard with metal frame (hanging on the wall)

Recently we tried to solve this with humidifier. It was a small relief. Not a huge progress.

Few cases:

  • Before humidifier even handshake literally every single time zapped us with static electricity
  • Yesterday, I was alone in the office lately, I noticed lightning, during attaching iPhone to the dock. Lightning appeared before actual connection and had a length of 1cm estimately. After this, my external monitor went black for about 3 seconds.

I checked the voltage in plugs. It's exactly 220 (standard in Russia).

Also I am not sure about grounding in the office building. Seems like it's absent.

So the question is what we can do, to avoid zapping everywhere and avoid spoilage of electrical appliance?

  • Is the electrical wiring installed in metal conduit? Can't speak to Russia but this is common in North America and Europe in commercial installations. Metal conduit is a valid grounding path if properly maintained (not allowed to be rusty or broken). If some dimwit has replaced a section of metal with something else, all bets are off. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 22 '18 at 0:59
  • this sounds weird, but worked for me: poke a thumbtack up into the bottom of your shoe, then poke one down from inside the shoe, so that the points touch (or are at least close). you will be immune to static when wearing the magic shoes. going barefoot works in a pinch also... – dandavis Mar 22 '18 at 3:53
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You can buy an outlet tester to check whether ground is properly wired (in that outlet).

If you're being zapped by a whiteboard hanging on a wall, then most likely it is static electricity generated when you walk across the floor. You didn't specify but I'm guessing the floor is a plastic laminate?

You could put down anti-static floor mats. For example under each desk. This would keep you from building up charge as you move around. Running mats across the entire floor may prove cost prohibitive.

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  • Yes, this is some kind of plastic laminate. I have a strong concern, that a whole building does not have general grounding. Is it possible to have some kind of local grounding? – IgorNikolaev Mar 21 '18 at 13:16
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Increasing the relative humidity in the area, is probably the best way to reduce the shocks. It's not likely a grounding issue.

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