Having intrinsically safe (IS) installations is a common requirement when you work in hazardous locations. For our purposes, we will use the intrinsically safe headlamp example in this article.
For lighting to be intrinsically safe, it must be constructed so that it will not cause ignition of hazardous materials in the hazardous location.
Intrinsic Safety Definition
Typically, these devices involve some type of electronic device that could otherwise cause an explosion in some hazardous location. Intrinsically safe (IS) equipment is strictly defined as having built-in protection for operating electronic equipment in hazardous areas. It does this by limiting one or both of electrical and thermal energy, thereby preventing fires in hazardous spaces.
Classes and Classifications of Hazardous Locations
Hazardous locations are divided into three categories:
- Class I: Flammable gases, vapors or liquids
- Class II: Combustible Dust
- Class III: Combustible fibers and flying debris
In addition to these classes, there are two departments:
- SECTION 1: CONDITIONS TO EXPECTED IN ROUTINE OPERATION
- Part 2: Circumstances that are unlikely to occur during normal operation
When you use an approved intrinsically safe headlamp, you can use it in any class and in any one division. Read more hazardous location information in this article.
Intrinsically safe and explosion-proof
The two main requirements for lighting safety in hazardous locations are intrinsic safety and explosion protection. While they may sound the same, they are actually different technologies.
IS lights do not emit enough electrical or heat energy to ignite in a hazardous location.
Explosion proof lights are capable of containing sparks that could ignite hazardous location materials.
The difference is the lack of ability to create an ignition source versus the ability to contain it (explosion proof).
Disadvantages of Intrinsically Safe Devices
Intrinsically safe devices have a disadvantage. It has an energy limit. In our example headlight, you only get 310 lumens of output. It's actually pretty reliable, though. Most competitive headlights are under 200 lumens, and the most common models in this segment are only 120.
When you need more light, especially for area lighting, you have to turn to more expensive explosion-proof options.
more than lighting
There are many other types of intrinsically safe equipment besides lights, although lighting is one of the most common categories of equipment around hazardous locations.
When you are working in these environments, it is important to designate separate storage spaces for intrinsically safe and standard equipment, especially if you are frequently moving between hazardous and normal work locations.
Spend some time training your crew on the differences in locations and the equipment needed to work in those locations. Anything you can do to make sure you're using the right tool for the job keeps you and everyone around you safer.
LED headlights used in our example
Do you like the headlights we used in the photo? This is Milwaukee 2004HZL. We highlighted this headlamp for several reasons.
It's clearly marked as Intrinsically Safe, and is distinctly different in color scheme from any other headlamp in Milwaukee. When you pick it up, you'll know without a doubt that it's your IS headlight, not a standard headlight.
It's not something every intrinsically safe lighting manufacturer does, and it really helps when you're working in a hazardous location.
It also doesn't compromise on performance to offer features like 100m beam distance and light weight.
Read more about Milwaukee intrinsically safe headlights, or head over to Acme Tools to pick one up for yourself.