ESD is a very real concern on mass-produced goods with an expectation of quality and durability (i.e. those items for end-user consumption with warranty). So real in fact that there are numerous international standards dealing with it, including:
- IEC 61000-4-2
- ISO 10605-2008
Design houses will mandate ESD protection on all sensitive ports if these standards are to be met, and during product qualification an ESD simulator (or "gun") capable of producing kilovolts of discharge will be used to test every exposed surface on the product to ensure nothing gets fried if someone shuffles their feet or rolls across the floor in their office chair (while wearing a stylish Cashmere sweater) and grabs your product by something other than its handle.
There will be extensive ESD controls in the production facility as well - workers will wear ESD gowns or smocks, ESD shoes or heel straps, and will use ESD wrist straps when working with product. Trays carrying product (and parts) will be static-dissipative. In extreme circumstances, humidification will be fully controlled.
ESD is really about probabilities. Will one incidental handling with no ESD controls cause an incident? Maybe. Will thousands of incidental handlings without ESD controls cause your product quality and yield to plummet? Most definitely.