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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
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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
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Evaporative Coolers
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AC/DC Transformers
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Remote Control Pan Tilt Base
Larson Electronics Spotlights
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Explosion Proof Accessories and Replacement Parts
Explosion Proof Lighting
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Explosion Proof Tank Lights
Explosion Proof Phones and Intercoms
Explosion Proof Extension Cords
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials
Crane Lights
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General Light Rentals
Light Tower and Light Plant Rentals
Power Distribution Rentals
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
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Film and Entertainment Lights
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Ship Yard Lights
Work Site Lighting

05/31/12 What is Explosion Proof Lighting?

Article- May 2012 By Larson

Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth LED Lighting

Larson Electronics Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth LED Lighting

Despite its critical nature, explosion proof lighting is quite often wholly misunderstood both in its basic nature and varying types. Tell someone their location requires an explosion proof light fixture and the first thing they’ll likely assume is you mean a light that cannot explode. There is even more often a misunderstanding regarding the various types of safety lighting available and a lot of mistaken assumption that one type is interchangeable with another. For instance, some may assume that because a fixture is vapor proof it is safe to use in areas where flammable or explosive vapors are present, and thus is comparable to an explosion proof fixture. Nothing could be further from the truth, and such misunderstandings can lead to serious injury or even death.


Explosion proof lights are lamps and fixtures that have been designed specifically for use in areas where dangerous flammable, explosive or otherwise volatile gases, vapor, liquids and materials are or may be present. Locations such as these are considered “Hazardous Locations” and are defined by different codes and directives such as the NEC (National Electrical Code-USA), ATEX (European Union), CEC (Canadian Electrical Code) and similar codes and regulations. Such locations can have materials such as petrochemicals, explosive dusts, solvents and fibers which are present as a part of everyday operations or could be present under unusual conditions such as a container or pipeline leak. Regardless of when these locations have flammable or explosive materials present however, the electrical equipment used in locations classified as hazardous must comply with regulations and laws based on electrical codes regarding hazardous locations.


At the basic level, explosion proof lighting is equipment designed to prevent the ignition of flammable or explosive materials, gases, or vapors. Lighting is one of the most commonly encountered electrical devices in any type of workplace and the types of lighting used can range from high power permanent fixtures to a common flashlight used for portable illumination. Every type of light used in a hazardous location must be explosion proof certified regardless of its size or type. Since lighting equipment operates on electrical current, and electrical current can create heat or sparks, it must be properly designed specifically for use in hazardous locations if flammable or explosive materials may be present. Lighting can present an ignition danger in several ways, including but not limited to; the operating heat of the lamp, the minute sparks created by on/off switches, defective wiring or internal components which can lead to short circuiting, or heat buildup from the accumulation of dusts or fibers on the fixture. As a result, the manner in which lighting equipment meets regulatory compliance for hazardous locations can vary and is usually reflected by its design and the type of approvals it carries.

Lighting for hazardous locations must be certified explosion proof or intrinsically safe by an authorized third party testing organization such as Underwriters Laboratories which tests and certifies equipment according to the relevant electrical codes set out by the NEC, ATEX etc. Intrinsically safe and explosion proof certification is similar, however the two terms denote different levels of design which reflect how they protect against ignition. Explosion proof equipment is designed to withstand and contain the ignition of flammable materials within the fixture itself, whereas intrinsically safe equipment does not produce or carry enough electrical current to cause ignition. For all intents and purposes, intrinsically safe lighting represents the highest level of safety, while explosion proof lighting meets minimum requirements for a much wider variety of environments. Intrinsically safe lighting tends to be small, low powered, and impractical for general lighting applications, and so is much less common than explosion proof lighting which generally encompasses more powerful fixtures.


Explosion proof lights do not prevent ignition completely, but rather control it and prevent the atmosphere outside of the light fixture from igniting. This is accomplished in a few different ways, but the general premise is to contain an ignition within the lamp housing long enough for the ignited gases to cool before escaping from the fixture. Explosion proof lights are generally constructed of heavy gauge, thick walled metals such as aluminum for rigidity and strength. The joints are typically fitted together with fine threads which serve a dual purpose; they provide a strong joint that can withstand an internal explosion, and they actually allow the pressures created by an internal explosion to escape. They do this safely by forcing the escaping heated gases to slow down to the point that by the time they exit the fixture, they have cooled enough to be unable to ignite the atmosphere outside the light fixture.


So as can be seen, it is not that explosion proof lights cannot explode, but rather they can withstand and contain an explosion or ignition within themselves. In addition to being certified explosion proof, lighting for hazardous locations must also be approved for use around the different types of conditions and materials they might come into contact with. Hazardous locations are rated according to the likelihood of the hazardous condition, and the types of materials which make the area dangerous. Thus, locations are defined as Class 1 which refers to Gases or Vapors, or Class 2 which denotes combustible or electrically conductive dusts. Additionally, locations are further sub categorized according to the likelihood of the hazardous condition existing, with Division 1 denoting the presence of hazardous materials under normal conditions, and Division 2 denoting their presence under abnormal conditions such as a container leak. Locations are also broken down according to the types of materials and classified as Groups A through G. For a detailed description of hazardous location classification refer to our article "IECex/ATEX and North American NEC HAZLOC Equipment Classification".


To be suitable for a given hazardous location, a fixture must be certified according to Class, Divison, and Group. Thus, a Class 1 Division 1 Group C locations requires equipment carrying Class 1 Division 1 Group C certification. If the fixture does not carry this certification, it is not suitable for use in hazardous locations regardless of any manufacturer claims as to it being explosion proof.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
Explosion Proof Lights
Paint Spray Booth Lights
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Explosion Proof Flood Light - 400 Watt Metal Halide - 18 Inch - Class 1 Div 1 C&D
Explosion Proof LED Paint Spray Booth light - Class 1 Div 1 - Class 1 Div 2 - T6 - 7,000 Lumens
Explosion Proof Aluminum LED Drop Light & Cord Reel - Class I, Div. I - 50' SOOW Cord - 2' LED Tube
Explosion Proof Emergency Light - 4 foot 3 lamp - Class 1 Div 1/2 & Class 2 Div 1/2 - 120/277VAC
Class I, Div. I & II Emergency Lighting System - 90 Minutes - Explosion Proof Bug Eyes - 120/277V
150W Explosion Proof LED Light Tower - Tripod Mount - C1D1 - 100' 16/3 SOOW Cord w/ EXP Plug
150W Explosion Proof LED Light Tower - Tripod Mount - C1D1 - 100' 16/3 SOOW Cord w/ EXP Plug
Low Profile Hazardous Area Fluorescent Light - Lay-In Mount Front Load Troffer - Class 1, Div. 2
Explosion Proof Incandescent String Lights - 8 Drop Lights - Class I & II, Div. I - 220Volts, 50Hz
Explosion Proof Emergency LED light - 4 foot 2 lamp - Backup Ballast - Class 1 & 2 LED Light
Hazardous Location Lighting - 150 Watts - 17,500 Lumens - C1D2 / C2D1 - Surface Mount
Hazardous Location Light - 150 Watts - 30 LEDS - Quadpod Mount - 100 ft cord - Class 1, Division 2
Explosion Proof Blasting Light - LED Blasting Gun Light - 4 Watt - Rechargeable
Explosion Proof Fluorescent Lights for Paint Booths - 4 foot - 4 lamp - 347 Volts AC
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