When an area is classified as a Hazardous Location, are you aware of the type of dangers it might present? In workplaces where flammable or ignitable gases are used, understanding the present dangers around you is crucial for continued safety. Protect your facility from future harm by learning the difference between the different hazardous location classifications.
Types of Hazardous Locations
Hazardous locations are areas where there is a potential for fire or explosion from electrical equipment due to flammable gases, liquids, vapors, combustible dusts, fibers, or flyings. In North America, various associations including The National Electrical Code (NEC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have created a guide to classify these areas. By defining a hazardous area into specific classes, divisions, and zones, workers can better understand the potential dangers before entry.
- Class I
- Class II
- Class III
Class I locations are areas where combustible gases, vapors, or flammable liquids may exist, and each subclassification determines the severity of that particular area. Class I locations may include natural gas refineries, gas stations, manufacturing plants, and many others.
- Class I, Division 1 – Area where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases or vapors exist under normal operating conditions, repair, or faulty electrical systems.
- Class I, Division 2 – Area where concentrations of flammable gases exist but are normally confined to sealed containers; ignition risk is substantially lower than Division 1 areas.
- Class I, Zone 0 – Similar to Division 1, this area is known to have explosive or flammable gases for a long period of time during normal operating conditions.
- Class I, Zone 1 – Area where explosive or flammable gases are present temporarily during normal operating conditions.
- Class I, Zone 2 – Area where there is an absence of explosive or flammable gases, vapors, or liquids during normal operating conditions.
Class II hazardous locations are areas where combustible dust, not gases or liquids, might be present at different amounts. Class II locations may include coal plants, flour mills, or similar manufacturing plants that handle hazardous dust. These locations are divided into two divisions.
- Class II, Division 1 – Area where explosive or flammable combustible dust exist under normal operating conditions; ignition could result from mechanical failure or nearby conductive dust.
- Class II, Division 2 – Area where amounts of explosive or flammable dust have a low chance of igniting under normal operating conditions.
Class III hazardous locations are areas where ignitable fibers or flyings may be present, such as sawdust plants or textile mills. Class III area classifications are divided into two different divisions.
- Class III, Division 1 – Area where ignitable fibers or flyings are handled, manufactured or used on a daily basis.
- Class III, Division 2 – Area where ignitable fibers or flyings are stored or handled, not used in the process of manufacturing.
Pro Tip: Make sure your equipment has been engineered to handle your specific area classification. Equipment designed for a particular class can be used in any division of that class, but not in any other class.
Staying Safe in Hazardous Locations
Working with dangerous chemicals and gases comes with many challenges, especially when used near electrical equipment. Without the right protection, the safety and health of your crew could be put at risk. GDS Corp offers a number of detection solutions that have been designed to function in hazardous areas.
Connect with a salesman today to customize a gas detection system for your unique operating conditions.