Industry White Paper on Intrinsic Safety (IS) radio equipment
Outline of requirements.
This document has been prepared to give clarification of the requirements and applicable standards for the use of Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas (EEHA). For many years industry personnel have struggled to comprehend the actual requirements and with the onus for setting the guidelines now falling under the ‘Duty of Care’ by employers for the safety of their workers, it is timely to have a document written for the Australian industry.
It is important to remember, that we as vendors are simply offering advice; if the client already has foreign certified equipment and he is happy to use it then that is not an issue for the vendor. Our aim is that as radio industry professionals we give correct advice.
NOTE: Not all areas are hazardous even where fuel or chemical are involved, some chemicals and products like diesel are not considered explosive. Hazardous/explosive areas are often relatively small and usually highly controlled. In an airport for example the only normally applicable hazards are around aircraft re-fuelling points, not the entire tarmac. Hence engineers, baggage handlers, catering staff and maintenance staff generally don’t need certified equipment (confirm this with the client, site rules may vary significantly).
Why is this Necessary?
There are Government regulations and workplace safety requirements designed to ensure that any risk to personnel is minimised and all of the risk factors are controlled. Without adherence to these regulations and associated guidelines there is a possibility of loss of life, loss or destruction of assets and resultant litigation.
Some radio users may need to use communications equipment in hazardous environments. It is important to understand the most hazards require the use of equipment which is certified as being safe for use in those hazards.
The EEHA (Electrical Equipment Hazardous Areas) regulations stem from the likelihood of heat and/or sparks from electrical equipment causing ignition of hazardous substances. There have been a number of methods or techniques developed to either protect against the possibility of ignition or to minimise the risk of ignition.
Australian standards are ANZEx; based on, and in many cases identical to the IECEx standards. IECEx is a legally accepted form of compliance in Australia. ATEX (European) and US NEC certification, unless also tested to IECEx, is NOT accepted without professional assessment.
The following are the section contents from the document –
- Classification of Hazardous Areas
- Equipment Selection
- The Global Standards Systems
- Handy Hints
- Appendices outlining – Marking, IECEx Member bodies, Standards, Regulatory Authorities, Old Standards and Frequently Asked Questions
Indicative flowchart for selection purposes