static electricity - accumulation of an electrical charge on a surface as a result of the rubbing together of nonconducting solids or liquids. The trapped static electricity may be released as a spark toward a nearby surface with a different charge potential. If the spark occurs in the presence of an ignitable mixture, such as a flammable concentration of hydrocarbon, vapors or finely divided particles of dust in air, explosion and fire can result. This phenomenon is called electrostatic ignition. Many types of industrial activities can generate static electricity (e.g., non-conducting fluid flowing through pipes, pulverized materials passing through chutes or pneumatic conveyors, churning vats, moving vehicles). Care should be taken in the workplace to minimize static buildup and to keep ignitable mixtures away from areas where static may occur.