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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
Explosion Proof Lights
Explosion Proof Motors - Motors for Hazardous Locations
Industrial and Vaporproof Emergency Failsafe Lighting
Industrial Cord Reels and Tool Taps
Industrial Work Area Heaters
Machine Vision Lights
QC Series Industrial Portable Lighting - Quick Change Mount
Rig Lights
Stadium lights
String Lights and Temporary Light Stringers
Tank Cleaning Lights
Three Phase Motor Soft Starters
Vapor Proof LED Lights
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
Vehicle Mounting Plates
Workboat Light Fixtures & Lighting Equipment
Yacht Engine Room Lights
Color Changing LED RGB Lighting
Explosion Proof Cord Reels
GOLIGHT Spotlights
Larson FUTURE - Lease Lighting
Remote Area Lighting and Scene Lights
Utility Bucket Mount, Receiver Hitch & Trailer Mount Lighting
Aevum Control Lighting and Equipment - IIoT
Butane and Solvent Extraction Room Lighting and Equipment
DC to DC Transformers and Power Supplies
Explosion Proof Fans & Blowers
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Approved Lights
Explosion Proof String Lights
Explosion Proof Switchgear & Controls
Fleet Service Lights and Lighting Equipment
Industrial Equipment Trailers
Industrial Handlamps & Droplights
ISO 14644/FS-209E Clean Room Lighting
LED Blasting Lights
Night Time Fishing Lights
Portable AC Power Supply Units
Portable Power Distribution Panels
Power Distribution Panels with KVA Transformers
Self-Contained Lighting
Service Pit Lighting
Solar Generators & Solar Powered Lighting
Agricultural Farm Equipment Lighting & Beacons
Explosion Proof Cameras & Surveillance Systems
Explosion Proof Emergency Lights
Explosion Proof Heaters
Garage & Gas Station Canopy Lights
LED Grow Lights
LED Lights
NDT Ultraviolet Lights
Portable Hazardous Location Lighting
Radio Communication Towers and Equipment
Salt Water Processing Equipment
Shelter & Tent Lighting
Thermal Monitoring Cameras and Systems
48V LED Equipment Lights
ATEX Rated Explosion Proof Lights
Automotive Lighting
Class Rated Signals, Alarms, and Systems
Hazardous Location Area Lights and Portable Lighting
HID Equipment Lights
Hot Work Permit Lighting and Equipment
Hunting Lights
Industrial lasers
Industrial Transformers
Light Towers
Outdoor Lighting
Remote Security and Surveillance Systems
Temporary Construction Lights
Vehicle Mounted Spotlights
Equipment & Heavy Machinery LED Light Package Fitouts
Phase Converters - Single to Three Phase
Marine Shore Power Cords and Equipment
24 Volt Military Lights
Disaster Relief / First Responders / Search & Rescue Lighting
Plastic Handcuff Key
110/120 Volt Flood Lights
Post Mount Spotlights
Magnetic Work Lights
Crank-up Light Masts
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Military Flashlights
LED Waterproof Lanterns
Work Area Lights
12 Volt Flood Lights
Boat Spotlights
New Boat Lights
HID Boat Lights
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Remote Control Lights
Control Lights
Tow Lights
Magnetic Control Lights
NEW Lights and New Products
Evaporative Coolers
Police Equipment
AC/DC Transformers
Power Supplies
Military Spotlights 24V
Infrared Filters, Covert Covers, and Blackout IR Lenses
Military Equipment
Ultralife Batteries
Remote Control Pan Tilt Base
Larson Electronics Spotlights
Larson Electronics Parts
Replacement Lamps
Cords - Brackets
Portable Wheeled Generators
Non-Hazardous Location Extension Cords / Plugs / Outlets
HID Work Lights
HID Dive Lights
HID Off Road Lights
Acro Lights HID Lights
Halogen Lights
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Xenon HID Flashlights
Powerlight Flashlight
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Xenon Flashlights
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Forklift Lights
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12/24 Volt Spotlights
Gifts For Men
New 12 / 24 Volt Lights
Explosion Proof Accessories and Replacement Parts
Explosion Proof Lighting
Explosion Proof Hand Lamps (Drop Lights)
Explosion Proof Lights - Stand/Dolly
Explosion Proof Tank Lights
Explosion Proof Phones and Intercoms
Explosion Proof Extension Cords
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials
Crane Lights
Explosion Proof Light Rentals
General Light Rentals
Light Tower and Light Plant Rentals
Power Distribution Rentals
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Environmental Services Lights
Aerospace Lights
Chemical Plant Lights
Food Grade Safe Lights
Film and Entertainment Lights
Handheld Meters and Devices
Waste Water Treatment Lights
Mining Lights
Ship Yard Lights
Work Site Lighting

02/21/11 Hazardous Locations: Know Your Explosion Proof Classifications

Knowing where hazardous location approved lighting equipment is necessary and determining its proper application can be somewhat daunting to the uninitiated. Hazardous locations are defined by the NEC or “National Electrical Code” as areas "where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers or flyings." The NEC is a part of the National Fire Protection Association’s publications detailing electrical safety in the industrial and commercial workplace. A portion of the NEC deals specifically with the presence and operation of electrical equipment in hazardous locations precisely because electricity poses a serious potential to cause ignition of the flammable and volatile substances noted above. In an effort to clearly identify and label hazardous locations and the proper procedures for installing and operating electrical equipment within them, the NEC has devoted several chapters and articles in its publication to classification and ratings systems.

The NEC classifies hazardous locations according to three criteria, Type, Condition and Nature. The types of hazardous locations are determined according to the kind of dangerous materials or compounds that are present. An environment where flammable gases or vapors such as petrochemicals or natural gas are present in enough quantities to be potentially flammable or explosive and could be ignited by a spark or heat is considered a Class 1 hazardous location. Thus, chemical processing facilities, utilities and plants handling natural gas and fuels, spray painting booths, aircraft hangars and fueling stations all can be classified as Class 1 hazardous locations and so require electrical equipment used in those areas to be rated Class 1.


A second type of location is one where combustible dusts may be present. Many solid materials that are normally fairly inert can become potentially as flammable and explosive as petrochemicals when ground or pulverized into fine enough particles and suspended in the atmosphere. Locations where dust such as this is present are thus classified as Class 2 locations and so equipment rated Class 2 must be used. Grain silos, flour mills, coal preparation plants, sugar refineries, fireworks factories and plants that machine, manufacture or store aluminum or magnesium metals are all examples of class 2 hazardous locations.


A third type of hazardous location is one where easily ignitable fibers and flyings from machining and working processes are present but not necessarily suspended in the atmosphere. In these locations these materials can accumulate around equipment and machinery where they can then be easily ignited by sparks or heat.  In these locations equipment that is classified as Class 3 must be used and include examples areas such as woodworking plants, textile plants, cotton mills, and processing plants.

It should be noted that none of the examples here are comprehensive and only serve to demonstrate the differing hazardous location classifications as they relate to different types of materials.

The second way hazardous areas are rated is according to the conditions of the area. In this case there are only two types of conditions, normal and abnormal. In normal conditions, flammable or explosive materials are present as a regular part of operations and such areas are classified as Division 1. In abnormal conditions, flammable or explosive materials are usually only present in sealed or contained states that do not allow them normal contact with the outside atmosphere. In these cases, the materials become dangerous when leaks, ruptures, breaks or other faulty conditions allow the materials to escape or vent flammable gases or fumes into the surrounding area, thus these are known as abnormal conditions and are classified as Division2. As a result, hazardous areas are usually rated Class 1 Division 1, Class 1 Division 2, Class 2 Division 1 and so on according to their respective types and conditions and thus equipment to be used in such areas must be similarly rated for these areas.

The third criteria for rating and classifying hazardous areas involves the nature of the flammable or explosive materials that are present. In Class 1 locations the natures of materials are grouped through application of the alphabetical designations Groups A, B, C, or D. Each letter represents a different material according to its flammability, volatility, ignition temperature and explosion pressure. Acetylene is the only item listed in Group A and represents an easily ignitable gas with the highest explosive pressures and thus there is little equipment normally available due to the small size of this group. Group B represents another fairly small category and includes hydrogen and other materials with similar traits. Groups C and D make up the largest Class 1 groups and include the bulk of flammable or volatile chemicals, vapors and materials including natural gas, butane and propane. The end result is that a Class 1 area can then be further narrowed according to these other criteria which would then be Class 1, Division 1, groups C and D or Class 1 Division 2 group B for example.

Class 2 dust location Groups include E, F and G where materials are categorized according to ignition temperature and the conductivity of the hazardous materials in question. Conductivity is important because metallic dusts that can conduct electrical current are included. Metallic dusts are contained within Group E. Group F includes materials such as charcoal dust and coal dust. Group G includes grain dusts, flour, starch, pulverized organics and similar materials.

As can now be seen, hazardous locations can be fitted within a specific set of criteria which then makes it possible to correctly select the proper electrical equipment for use within these locations. A paint spray booth for example would have flammable/explosive gases and vapors present as a part of normal operations, making it a Class 1 Division 1 area, while the nature of the materials would fit within Groups C and D. Thus a paint spray booth light rated Class 1 Division 1, Groups C and D would be required. A grain silo where combustible dusts are present during normal operations would be a Class 2 Division 1, Group G area.

The critical aspect to remember here is that each location is different and that just because equipment may be rated explosion proof does not mean it is suitable for any hazardous location. Equipment must be chosen according to the specific type, nature and conditions that are present and be appropriately labeled and approved for these areas in order to conform to federal and local regulatory guidelines.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Approved Lights
Paint Spray Booth Lights
Explosion Proof Incandescent / Fluorescent Hand Lamps
Class 1 Division 2 Paint Spray Booth Lights
Refinery lights
Explosion Proof Fluorescent Lights for Paint Booths, Oil Rigs, Boats -2 foot - 2 lamp -Multi-voltage
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Light on Dolly Cart with Wheels - 4 foot 2 lamp
12 / 24 Volt Explosion Proof LED light - UL Class 1 Div 1 & Class 2 Div 1 - Paint Spray Booth Cert.
Explosion Proof Fluorescent Ultraviolet Light - Class 1 & 2 - 4' 2 lamp - Paint Booths, Rigs, Marine
Low Profile Surface Mount Explosion Proof Fluorescent Light - 4 Foot 3 Lamp T8 Fixture - Paint Booth
Explosion Proof Fluorescent Light with Emergency Battery Backup -4ft 4-T8 lamp -Paint Booth Approved
Low Profile, Explosion Proof Light - 4ft, 6 Lamp - Class 1 Div. 2 - Paint Spray Booth Rated - T5HO
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