Industrial Forklift Classifications and Explosion Proof Lighting Systems|
Article - October 9, 2017 By LarsonElectronics.com
Industrial Forklift Classifications and Explosion Proof Lighting Systems
Explosive work sites require the use of special equipment in order to prevent accidental combustion of flammable compounds. As a result, specific types of forklifts must be deployed to promote safety in the workplace.
This article covers protective ratings for industrial forklifts, as well as explosion proof lights used to streamline forklift operations.
Type EX Forklifts
Type EX forklifts are applicable to Division 1 hazardous locations. Division 1 work sites are defined as hazardous environments wherein flammable gases, vapors or dust are present during regular operations. Explosion proof designs must be incorporated in the unit to prevent accidental combustion of volatile compounds in the atmosphere.
NFPA 505 (2002) 184.108.40.206 governs the standards for industrial vessels in Division 1 hazardous locations. Additionally, Type EX forklifts must comply with guidelines set forth in UL 583 and UL 1203, for fire protection and application of explosion proof enclosures. For complete protection from flammable compounds, Type EX is considered to be the only rating suitable for forklifts in explosive work sites.
Type EE Forklifts
Type EE forklifts are designed for use in Division 2 hazardous locations. Division 2 industrial facilities are locations wherein combustible gases, vapors or dust are not always present – typically only during abnormal conditions or accidents. An example of a Division 2 area is a room that stores sealed containers of oil. With the barrels sealed, flammable elements are isolated and cannot interact with spark-producing equipment.
In the event the containers are damaged, causing a leak, the facility then turns into a Division 1 location. This is because Division 2 does not offer protection for flammable elements floating around in the atmosphere. Moreover, this rating does not address the following: the presence of static discharges in the environment, premature failure and auto ignition temperatures. With this in mind, Type EE forklifts cannot replace Type EX forklifts in Division 1 work sites. However, the opposite arrangement (Type EX forklifts to replace Type EE forklifts in Division 2 industrial facilities) is considered to be viable.
Forklift Operational Guidelines in Explosive Environments
Forklifts that use internal combustion engines are prone to a wide range of explosive risks during operation. Because of this, certain safety guidelines must be taken into consideration to cater to the flammable nature of the work site. When operating forklifts in hazardous locations, deadly fumes can easily build up. To prevent such occurrences, it is recommended to promote adequate ventilation in the area. In cold weather conditions, doors and windows could be sources of gaseous concentrations. It is common for workers to overlook such locations, since doors and windows are normally sources of open ventilation.
Businesses may choose to monitor concentrations of volatile compounds in the atmosphere using a CO detector or other devices. In the event forklift operations in tight or poorly ventilated spaces are unavoidable and persistent, one should consider utilizing a battery-powered unit to avoid explosive risks related to internal combustion engines.
Explosion Proof Lights for Forklifts
Industrial forklifts use different types of lights for safety, notification and guidance. To prevent unwanted ignitions, the lighting system on the forklift must carry the same level of explosion proof protection as the vessel. So if the forklift is Type EX (designed for Division 1 hazardous locations), the luminary should be Division 1 as well.
For safety and notifications around the space, a powerful, blue or red spotlight can be used by the operator. The units are typically low voltage and compact, incorporating LED technology for robust, energy-efficient performance. These lights can be mounted in an accessible location – within arm’s reach of the operator. “Zone” lights work like pedestrian warning lights for forklifts. The units clearly mark high-risk sections of the floor around the forklift that are prone to unforeseen dangers.
It would also be possible to attach an explosion proof LED strobe light for notifications, when passing through high-activity locations. Equipped with visually-stimulating strobing patterns, the luminaries can be combined with audio warning systems. Lastly, blind corners present complex issues for forklifts. To prevent collisions around blind corners, businesses can install LED traffic lights around the facility.