Hazardous Areas

Hazardous Areas can be a confusing topic for most, as can their necessity for plant safety.  However the classification of areas as being Hazardous and the correct application of the governing standards play a critical role in ensuring that the risk to both assets and human life is minimised.

What is a Hazardous Area?

A hazardous area is defined as an environment that either contains or has the potential to contain any concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, mists or combustible dusts.  It is necessary that any electrical equipment within this area is specifically designed and constructed to ensure that the potential to cause ignition is mitigated.

It is important to understand that an explosive atmosphere is capable of occurring in any area where the above mentioned are present and can form a sufficient concentration to produce an explosive/ignitable mixture.

Who is Responsible?

There are both national and international standards which govern Hazardous Areas and the electrical equipment for use in these areas.  Internationally these are managed by the IECEx which is a conformity assessment system of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the IECEx System is responsible for setting the standards. The Australian explosive standards have adopted the international standards and are largely identical with some changes relating to particular concerns in the Australian environment. Both systems of certification for EEHA are accepted for use in Australia.