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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
Boat Dock Lights
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
Acro Light Flashlight
Xenon HID Flashlights
Powerlight Flashlight
HID Flashlights
Xenon Flashlights
LED Status Lights
Forklift Lights
Tractor Lights
HID Post Mount Lights
Roof Mount Lights
Post Mount Light parts
Flashlight Holder
Magnet Spotlight Base
Tripods-Magnetic Base
Recharging Spotlights
Fire Rescue Lights
LED Street Lights
Utility Lights
Hazard Lights
Strobe Lights - Battery Operated
Strobes & Beacons
Strobe Light Bars
Headlights - Headlamps - Hard Hat Lights
Suction Mount Lights
Magnetic Spotlights
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

11/01/10 Explosion Proof and Intrinsically Safe: Different Methods, Same Goals

Deciding on the proper lighting for a particular work location can result in some unexpected confusion. Although many people understand that the presence of flammable or volatile materials and gases present a hazard, they do not understand the nature of equipment that must be used in such locations. Considering that any location that presents the possibility for fire or explosion due to the presence of volatile materials may constitute what is known as a hazardous environment, it is critical that anyone who is going to be working under such conditions understand the nature of equipment these environments require.

In general, any environment that presents a fire or explosion hazard due to the presence of volatile gases, vapors, chemicals, or materials such as dust or suspended particles represents a hazardous location. Examples of this include but are not limited to, storage tanks used to store petrochemicals, grain silos, buildings that house operations where chemicals are routinely used or operations produce fine particulates, tank farms, power plants, ship based storage containers or fuel tanks, automotive spray booths, and many more.

In order to work in these areas, it is necessary that adequate lighting be provided in order to perform work safely and ensure that productivity and quality remain high. The problem however is that electricity and volatile vapors or materials do not mix well together. Most electrical equipment either produces some sort of spark during the normal course of its operation, or has the potential to produce unexpected sparks or flame. In reducing the chances for inadvertent ignition in hazardous locations the main emphasis is on removing any potential sources of ignition. Thus, any electrically powered equipment to be used in a hazardous location needs to have some sort of provisions to prevent it from creating an ignition source.  It is here that explosion proof and intrinsically safe lighting comes into play.

The first thing to consider is the fact that the terms explosion proof and intrinsically safe do not represent the same thing. Explosion proof lighting is designed for use in hazardous locations and must be certified for such use by accredited institutions such as Underwriters Laboratories for use in these environments. Additionally, not only must equipment be certified as explosion proof, but it must also be properly rated according to the type of environment it is to be used in. Explosion proof lighting like Larson Electronics’s Explosion Proof Light - Tripod Mount - 70 Watt Metal Halide Light reduces the chances of ignition by being capable of containing an explosion or ignition of materials within its housing, preventing them from escaping at temperatures that could ignite the surrounding atmosphere. Keep in mind that these are broad explanations of how explosion proof lighting works and that for a full explanation of hazardous location lighting and the various ratings assigned to it you need to refer to OSHA or a similar regulatory agency for a detailed descriptions. It also needs to be noted that regulations vary by country and that the relevant country’s regulating bodies have the definitive jurisdiction over the regulations regarding hazardous location equipment.

Intrinsically safe lighting on the other hand achieves the same goal as explosion proof lighting; the prevention of ignition, but through a different methodology. Rather than being designed primarily to contain explosions or ignitions, intrinsically safe lighting relies on very low voltages and rugged designs made of materials that resist creating sparks when coming into contact with other surfaces. Intrinsically safe lighting is usually battery powered and uses so little current that it is incapable of either producing sparks or producing enough heat to ignite gases or materials. In either case, the end goal is the same although achieved through different means. It is also important to note that intrinsically safe equipment and explosion proof rated equipment is not interchangeable. As noted above, the proper equipment rated for the particular environment it will be used in must be utilized.

All lighting equipment to be used in hazardous locations is rated by Class, Division and Group/Zone. Each rating pertains to the different hazards presented by the conditions in a given location and because of this lighting must carry the corresponding ratings to be allowable for use in that location. For example, a light rated for use in a Class I, Division II area is not suitable for use in an area rated as Class I, Division II. So if you have a light that is certified Class I Division II and is rated for use in areas where chemicals or vapors may be present intermittently or at moderate levels, but the area you need to work in is rated Class I, Division I because there is a constant presence of volatile materials and at high levels, then you cannot use the Division II rated light in this area and must obtain a light that is rated Class I Division I.

Another thing to consider about explosion proof rated lights is that just because they are rated explosion proof does not mean they are air or water tight. The explosion proof rating simply means that they will prevent internal ignitions from escaping and igniting the surrounding and so are not airtight or waterproof. This means that explosion proof lighting should not be submerged or subjected to heavy liquid contamination unless it is specifically rated as water and air tight and capable of withstanding such treatment.

One other important issue to keep in mind that although there is a lot of equipment available that is rated as vapor proof, this does not mean it is safe for use in hazardous locations. Although such equipment may in fact be vapor proof, this does not mean that it cannot get hot enough to cause ignitions, or contain the effects of an exploding bulb within its housing. By the same token, just because equipment is rated as explosion proof, does not automatically infer that it is vapor proof. Equipment must be certified explosion proof and if it does not carry the proper identification then it is likely not suitable for use in dangerous environments.  

Before entering into a hazardous location to perform work it is necessary and in fact required by law that any equipment you use be properly rated. To ensure your safety and that of those around you be certain to educate yourself about how explosion proof equipment is rated and what those ratings mean for your workplace. Although it may seem confusing at first, explosion proof equipment really isn’t very difficult to understand. The safety and feeling of security that comes from knowing you are using the right equipment for the job is worth the effort it takes.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Explosion Proof Lights
Hazardous Location Area Lights and Portable Lighting
Class 1 Division 2 Lights
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Explosion Proof LED Flashlight - 4 Watt - Push Button Switch - 100 Lumens - IP67 Waterproof
Explosion Proof Light - Quadpod Mount - 2 X 70 Watt Metal Halide Lights - Class 1 Div 1 - Wet Areas
Explosion Proof Light - Quadpod Mount - 70 Watt Metal Halide Light - Class 1 Div 1 - Wet Areas
Hazardous Area Light - Quadpod Mount - 2 X 400 Watt Metal Lights - Class 1 Div 2
Intrinsically Safe Blower (Ventilator) 25 foot Static Conductive Duct Redirects Stale Work Area Air
Intrinsically Safe Flashlight - Rechargeable LED Flashlight with Spot and Flood Beams
Explosion Proof Pen Light - Class I Division 1 Groups A, B, C & D - 11 Lumens - 24 Hour Runtime
Intrinsically Safe LED Trouble Light - Convenient Hanging Hook and Belt Ring - Spot & Flood - Rechar
Intrinsically Safe LED Penlight - 50 Lumens - 13.75 Hr. Runtime - C1D1 & C2D1 - (3) AAAA Batteries
Hazardous Area Light - Extendible Tower W/ Wheels - 2 X 400 Watt Metal Lights - Class 1 Division 2
Explosion Proof Dock Light - Class I, Div. I, Groups C & D - HPS or Metal Halide - Extension Arm
*RENTAL* Intrinsically Safe Blower (Fan) - Runs off Air Compressor - Class I, II, & III - 25' Duct
Replacement Battery for EXPRL-95 and EXPRL-96 series intrinsically safe lights
Replacement Charger for EXPRL-95 and EXPRL-96 series intrinsically safe lights
Replacement Battery Charger for the XPR-9863E model Intrinsically Safe Flashlights
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