For those who work in industries where flammable materials are present, such as petrochemical and pharmaceutical plants, oil platforms, refineries, pipelines and mining, the potential for an explosion is a daily reality. All it takes is a flammable material meeting air and an ignition source.
As a practical matter, avoiding the ignition source – anything from a spark or electrical arc to static electricity or a hot surface – is probably the best way to prevent an explosion. That is why industries with potentially explosive environments are required to abide by a set of intrinsic safety standards, which apply to all equipment used in those environments.
Devices that are certified as intrinsically safe (IS) are designed so that they are unable to release enough energy to ignite flammable material. Workers are not allowed to carry tools without an IS rating through an IS classified area, even if they aren’t powered up, since the tool could accidentally be activated, creating a safety risk.
ATEX sets the global standard
The European Union (EU) 94/9/EC Directive, commonly referred to as ATEX, is the primary standard for electrical and electronic equipment to be used in potentially explosive environments in EU countries. ATEX establishes mandatory safety requirements for equipment sold for use in those environments and serves as a model for similar directives adopted around the world. In the United States the NEC 500 and 505 codes define the requirements. NEC 505 is similar to ATEX in classification and related marking of products used in hazardous areas.
Fluke offers a growing number of intrinsically safe tools. These dampen the available energy at the output terminals and do not produce any static electricity. Visit www.bit.ly/2UBLK6R for details on Fluke’s intrinsically safe tools, or for technical and seminar information, demonstrations and to locate your nearest authorised channel partner.
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