A hazardous area is an area in which an explosive atmosphere may be present, or is normally present. Hazardous areas commonly occur in mines, process plants, oil facilities and gas facilities.
The hazard may be caused by liquids, vapours, mists, gases and dusts. These could occur as a raw material, or as part of a manufacturing process, or during the transport, handling and storage of the material. Hazards can occur in many situations. For example, the photograph shown was taken in a local supermarket, showing the
flammable warning on a spray can of olive oil.
Unfortunately, there are many examples of what can happen when if there is an explosion, such as a massive explosion at Pemex oil refinery in Mexico.
Another example is the video of the fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, Texas, on 17 April 2013. The bodies of 12 people were recovered. The enormous explosion demolished surrounding neighbourhoods for blocks and left more about 200 other people injured.
In order to minimise the risk of an explosion, special precautions are required for the design and installation of electrical systems in hazardous areas. The Australian Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000:2007 with amendments) has a section for hazardous areas (explosive gas or combustible dusts). The standard defines a hazardous area and the particular requirements to the selection of electrical equipment and its installation to ensure safe use in areas with an explosive atmosphere. There are additional standards that are referenced as applicable to hazardous areas.
BESST provides EEHA (Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas) hazardous area classification and design to national units of competency for the following:
· Classify Hazardous Area – Gas Atmospheres
· Classify Hazardous Area – Dust Atmospheres
· Plan Electrical Installations for Hazardous Areas – Gas Atmospheres
· Plan Electrical Installations for Hazardous Areas – Dust Atmospheres
· Design Explosion-Protected Electrical Systems and Installations – Gas Atmospheres
· Design Explosion-Protected Electrical Systems and Installations – Dust Atmospheres