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I am a novice to electronics, and I am currently building a wooden workbench. The workbench will have an ESD bench mount and ESD matting over the entire bench.

I now want to have a small fold-out table (one of those cheap ones that you can buy from hardware stores), which has a plastic surface and metal frame/legs, next to the workbench. I will use this table for computer and pen and paper work. If my wrist strap is attached to the ESD bench mount, then is it safe for me to just "wheel" in my chair from one bench to the other, going from doing electronics and/or chemical work on one bench to computational and pen and paper work on the other?

Furthermore, with this setup, is it safe to have a laptop and/or pen and paper on the electronics workbench itself, and to work with that while I do electronics work?

Since the ESD bench mount is attached to the mains, I want to be sure that I'm not doing anything unsafe (both for myself and my electronics). I would greatly appreciate it if people would please take the time to advise me on this.

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You said "the ESD bench mount is attached to the mains", which sounds to me like it's directly connected to the ground lead of a power outlet somewhere. Please don't do this! ESD safety equipment usually uses a series resistor between you and the ground, to avoid high currents flowing through your body in case you accidentally touch something that's at a high voltage. Based on this question and its answers, that resistance can be around 1-2.5 MΩ. This answer to the same question explains nicely how that protects you as well as the electronics you work on.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41ElKrP%2BrfL.jpg is what I am referring to. I made sure to ask, and was told that it has a 1Mohm resistor built into it. But besides this, I don't think your answer fully addresses my questions. My questions are, in particular, about the safety of working across multiple benches/desks, whilst having a wrist strap attached to the ESD bench mount of the single workbench. \$\endgroup\$ – The Pointer Jun 24 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a relief! Good on you for making sure. It's a good thing that the resistor is inside a permanently installed device, I think that's safer than eg. relying on it being a part of a wrist strap. \$\endgroup\$ – ksadowski Jun 24 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think both the ESD bench mount and the wrist strap have resistors in them. This is an off-topic question that I was going to ask later: is this still safe? I'm a newbie, so I'm unsure if both having resistors in them changes anything (at least, changes anything detrimentally). \$\endgroup\$ – The Pointer Jun 24 at 18:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThePointer That's sort of the thing I was talking about. I am kind of surprised though that they bothered using conductive materials for the hot and neutral prongs when they shouldn't be going anywhere. The one I have just has plastic tabs for the hot and neutral. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Jun 24 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThePointer Safety for you is pretty difficult to mess up as long as you are using properly made ESD equipment that includes resistors and everything and don't connect something to the hot or neutral. Rolling around in a chair is probably not so good for the electronics. Static takes time to drain. That's how we get rid of charge and not have it to damage while doing so: we drain it slowly so currents are low. And if your chair is regular fabric or plastic that's a no no. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Jun 24 at 19:23
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I could recommend if you have the budget to invest in a swivel laptop arm that you can mount you laptop above your work and move it where you want it.

You were asking about safety and this could prevent rolling back and forth with eliminates that hazard of tipping over or banging into something or possibly while falling over grabbing stuff and bringing it down.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't answer my questions, which centre on safety. \$\endgroup\$ – The Pointer Jun 24 at 2:32

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