Explosive Atmosphere Standards

Explosive atmosphere standards deal with the design, use, and selection of equipment to be used in environments with the potential for or certainty of an explosive atmosphere. Covering the equipment used for the detection of dangerous gases, explosive atmosphere standards go on to address the work-specific equipment in these environments, with attention paid to both intrinsically safe equipment and the protection of the rest where necessary. Electrical and non-electrical equipment are addressed separately, given the significant difference in techniques applied to handling the two, and special attention is paid to mining because of the especially notable combination of a dangerous atmosphere and dangerous work in one industry.

General Explosive Atmosphere Standards

General explosive atmosphere standards address the basic concepts and methodologies for explosion prevention and protection. Including standardized vocabularies and glossaries of relevant terms, these standards provide uniformity between different industries and organizations. Additionally, given their wide applicability, gas detection instruments have their recommended practices and performance requirements outlined, and the methodology for the functional safety assessment of protective systems is provided as well.

IEC 60079 Series Explosive Atmosphere Standards

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60079 series of explosive atmosphere standards covers a wide array of important considerations when it comes to potentially explosive atmospheres. Dealing with general equipment requirements, gas detectors, intrinsically safe equipment, a variety of different methods of equipment protection, and moving on to the classification of areas, material characteristics, and some industry specific standards, the IEC 60079 series is truly expansive.

Electric Explosive Atmosphere Standards

Standards for the use of an electrical apparatus in a potentially explosive atmosphere, such as in the presence of combustible dust, or in Zone 20, Zone 21, or Zone 22 Hazardous (Classified) locations, detail the inherent dangers of the association between an electrical device and a surrounding ignitable atmosphere. Focusing on intrinsic solutions, this array of standards outlines their general requirements, construction, and testing. Additionally, hose assemblies for protecting electrical cables are addressed, as well as test methods for determining the minimum ignition temperature and electrical resistivity of dust.

Non-Electric Explosive Atmosphere Standards

Non-Electrical equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres, while not dangerous to the degree of their electrical counterparts, still pose a danger and necessitate that preventative precautions be taken. Starting with the methodology for the risk assessment of non-electrical equipment and components for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, and the basic method and requirements for non-electrical equipment protection, these standards go on to address several ways of protecting equipment, such as through various enclosures or by immersion.

Other Explosive Atmosphere Standards

Other standards for explosive atmospheres deal with assorted topics, such as the safety requirements for the design and construction of reciprocating internal combustion engines for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Similarly, the safety of industrial trucks is addressed, as is the design of fans working in such environments. Because of the dangerous nature of mining, special mention is given to equipment and components intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres in underground mines.