Why do Gas Certifications matter?

13 Dec 2021

Who Classifies Gas Certificates? 

One of the most significant concerns in an industrial workplace is the potential risk of fire or/and explosion. However, there are directives that set standards in which aim to control explosive atmospheres. ATEX (ATmosphere EXplosibles) is the name commonly given to two European Directives for controlling explosive environments. IECEX (International Electrotechnical Commission for Explosive Atmospheres) is the certification that all electrical devices are required to go through by the International Electrotechnical Commission to ensure that they meet a minimum safety standard that will determine whether they can be used in hazardous or explosive environments. For the US Underwriters Limited (UL) is a safety organisation who provide products that are to be sold into the marketplace with authentication that are safe for use. Similarly, the Canadian National Standards (CSA) provide products placed in the market or put into service with a safety certification displaying that they are fit for use. However, The Safety integrity level (SIL) is the level of risk-reduction provided by a safety function, or to specify a target level of risk reduction. The certificates provided by both ATEX and Sil are what operators rely on in order to prevent fires and explosions but also to keep all those in industrial workplaces safe. 

Workplace Hazards 

There are too many workplace hazards to count, however, a hazardous location is stated as an area in which combustible or flammable substance is or has the potential to be in attendance. Hazardous locations are specified by the type of combustible hazard and the probability of it being present. These gradings are determined by classifications set by the National Electric Code (NEC) in the United States and the International Electrochemical Commissions (IEC) internationally. These are defined in two ways; either Class/Division system in Northern America or Zones/Groups internationally.  

Class and Divisions 

Divisions: 

Division 1: There is a likelihood the hazard is present during normal operating conditions 

Division 2: The hazard is present during abnormal conditions (i.e., In the event of a spill or leak)  

Classes: 

Class 1Gas 

Class 2Dust 

Class 3Fibres  

Zones and Groups  

Zones: identify the possibility for a hazard to be present 

Zone 0: The hazard is in attendance continuously and for a prolonged period of time 

Zone 1: There is a chance that the hazard is in attendance but at normal operating  conditions 

Zone 2: The hazard is not likely in attendance in normal conditions for an extended period of  time 

Groups: Identify the particular type of hazard 

Group 1: Mining Industry hazard specific 

Group 2: Have a group identifying the hazard is gaseous in nature 

A: Methane, propane, and other similar gases 

B: Ethylene and gases or those that pose a similar hazard risk 

C: Acetylene, hydrogen or similar hazards 

Group 3: Dusts and other groups by size of the particle and type of material 

Understanding the Certification Logos 

The logos located on the equipment identify who or what association has tested and assessed the equipment, ensuring its safety based on set standards. Many associations will certify equipment as being explosion proof, clarifying that any ignition will be contained within the device and will not pose a threat to the outside environment. This action is intrinsically safe, thereby stopping the device from creating a spark that may lead to an explosion in a hazardous environment.  

Why Certificates are important 

Although it is hard to identify all classification, to ensure that equipment has been certified safe, it is essential to look for familiar logos as a primary sign the equipment is safe and won’t pose a threat to the environment. Certificates allow for easy visual for the operator to not only ensure that the devices work correctly but also protect all those in the hazardous environment its set to measure.  

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