Make sure electrical equipment is suitable for potential hazardous work areas

Paul Boughton

When working in industries such as chemical, oil, gas, power, fire rescue, or hazmat, among others, there is a potential danger of having flammable material present. When electric equipment is used there, the combination of flammable material with a potential spark can cause an explosion or, technically speaking, generate a hazardous location.

In the event that you are in charge of purchasing electrical equipment, such as professional torches, for those who work in hazardous locations, you have a big responsibility.
You need to make sure that torches are correctly certified as per the ATEX Directive (94/9/CE), which requires manufacturers to supply properly certified electrical equipment if that equipment is to be used in potentially explosive areas. You will also need to comply with ATEX Directive (99/92/CE), which regulates the requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers who are potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.
ATEX Directive (99/92/EC) states that each area must be classified according to its potential for hazardous risk, and that only ATEX certified equipment (approved to Category 1, 2 r 3) can be used in these locations. On the old CENELEC (previous safety Directive), hazardous areas were classified into different zones (Zone 0, 1, 2) based on the frequency and duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere.
Every ATEX Category is associated with a CENELEC Zone. Each Zone or Category is classified according to the length of time that flammable material can be present:
Every torch certified by ATEX must have a code printed on its body. This code will advise the user in what kind of area the torch can be used.

Peli Products SA is based in Barcelona, Spain. www.peli.com

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