Why do Gas Certifications matter?

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.  

Helping you stay safe during the BBQ season

Who doesn’t love a summer BBQ? Come rain or shine we light up our BBQs with usually the only worries being whether it will rain, or the sausages are fully cooked through.

While these are important, (especially making sure the sausages are cooked!) many of us are completely unaware of the potential risks.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that has received its fair share of publicity with many of us installing detectors in our homes and businesses, but completely unaware carbon monoxide is associated with our BBQs.

If the weather is poor, we may decide to barbeque in the garage doorway or under a tent or canopy. Some of us may even bring our BBQs into the tent after use.  These can all be potentially fatal as the carbon monoxide collects in these confined areas.

Equally with a propane or butane gas canister, we store in our garages, sheds and even our homes unaware that there is a risk of a potentially deadly combination of an enclosed space, a gas leak and a spark from an electrical device.  All of which could cause an explosion.

All of that said, BBQs are here to stay and if we use them safely, are a great way to spend a summer afternoon.  So, here is a selection of facts and tips from our safety team at Crowcon which we hope will help you enjoy a safe and delicious summer ahead!

 

Quick facts and tips about BBQ charcoals:

  • Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas so just because we can’t smell or see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there
  • Carbon monoxide is a by-product of burning fossil fuels, which include charcoal and BBQ gas
  • Always use your BBQ in a well-ventilated open area as it can accumulate to toxic levels in enclosed spaces
  • Never bring a charcoal into a tent, even if it seems cold. Remember a smouldering BBQ will still give off carbon monoxide
  • Be aware and act quickly if someone experiences the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning which include headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, confusion, collapse and unconsciousness. These symptoms can be potentially fatal

 

Quick facts and tips about gas cannisters:

  • Gas barbecues tend to use propane, butane or LPG (which is a mixture of the two)
  • Gas BBQs have holes in the bottom to prevent a build-up of gas. This is because gas is heavier than air so will accumulate in low areas or fill a space from the bottom up
  • To avoid the accumulation of gas, cannisters should always be stored outside, upright, in a well-ventilated area, away from heat sources, and away from enclosed low spaces
  • If you store your BBQ in the garage, make sure you disconnect the gas cannister and keep this outside
  • When you are using your BBQ, keep the cannister to one side so it isn’t underneath and close to the heat source and position the BBQ in an open space
  • Always keep the cannister away from ignition sources when changing cannisters
  • Always make sure you turn off the gas at the BBQ as well as on the regulator on the cannister, after use

 

Complacency – the biggest sin of all

We recently ran a series of articles under the guise of the Seven Deadly Sins of Gas Detection, which talked about gas detection and common mistakes of different kinds that could cost you your life or someone else’s life. However, the real deadly sin that sits at the root of all is complacency – not taking gases and gas hazards as a serious and present danger.

Continue reading “Complacency – the biggest sin of all”

Hydrogen Sulphide Hazards

Next in our series of short videos is our hydrogen sulphide detection factoid.

Where is H2S found?

Hydrogen sulphide is a significant danger to workers in many industries. It is a by-product of industrial processes, such as petroleum refining, mining, paper mills, and iron smelting. It is also a common product of the biodegradation of organic matter; pockets of H2S can collect in rotting vegetation, or sewage itself, and be released when disturbed.

Continue reading “Hydrogen Sulphide Hazards”