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Protection Methods for Gas Detectors used in Hazardous Environments


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Almost every industrial setting poses some potential safety risk to personnel working in such environments whether it is something that can be seen such as rotating machinery or unseen, such as possible lethal concentrations of flammable/combustible gas. Accordingly, there are several methods of personal protection employed specific to the threat posed. In the case of Gas Detection instrumentation employing electrical circuits/devices, identification of the working environment and the hazards faced in that environment is the first step in determining the method of protection required to ensure Safety of personnel. There are two systems used to define a hazardous environment, Division Classification and Zone Classification.

Protection Methods for Gas Detectors used in Hazardous Environments Westech 1

Division Classification

Division classification is the dominant method used to describe the hazardous environment in North America. A Division 1 area is defined as a place in which an explosive (or poisonous) atmosphere is continually present or intermittently present under normal operating conditions. Division 2 is said to be an environment where the threat of dangerous gas being present is not likely to occur in normal operation, however under abnormal conditions, gas may be present.

Zone Classification

Zone classification is ubiquitous throughout the world and is also being adopted in North America. Zone classification is divided into three parts. A Zone 0 area is defined as a place where the presence of a combustible/ flammable gas is always present under normal operating conditions. Zone 1 is an environment in which there is an intermittent chance that combustible gas will be present under normal operating conditions and Zone 2 is where the presence of dangerous levels of combustible gas only occurs under abnormal operating conditions.

Ignition of a combustible/flammable gas may occur in several ways, but these can be generalized as either:

  • Hot Surfaces (all flammable /combustible gases have an ignition temperature)
  • Electrical Arcing or sparks
  • Mechanical sparks In North America, the following general protection concepts are employed.

In North America, the following general protection concepts are employed.

Protection Methods for Gas Detectors used in Hazardous Environments Westech 2

Division Classification

Division classification is the dominant method used to describe the hazardous environment in North America. A Division 1 area is defined as a place in which an explosive (or poisonous) atmosphere is continually present or intermittently present under normal operating conditions. Division 2 is said to be an environment where the threat of dangerous gas being present is not likely to occur in normal operation, however under abnormal conditions, gas may be present.

Zone Classification

Zone classification is ubiquitous throughout the world and is also being adopted in North America. Zone classification is divided into three parts. A Zone 0 area is defined as a place where the presence of a combustible/ flammable gas is always present under normal operating conditions. Zone 1 is an environment in which there is an intermittent chance that combustible gas will be present under normal operating conditions and Zone 2 is where the presence of dangerous levels of combustible gas only occurs under abnormal operating conditions.

Ignition of a combustible/flammable gas may occur in several ways, but these can be generalized as either:

  • Hot Surfaces (all flammable /combustible gases have an ignition temperature)
  • Electrical Arcing or sparks
  • Mechanical sparks In North America, the following general protection concepts are employed.

In North America, the following general protection concepts are employed.

North America

Protection Methods for Gas Detectors used in Hazardous Environments Westech 3

Manufacturers offer an array of Gas Detection products to suit various environments and applications. Careful consideration of all factors is required to select the proper equipment to ensure the safety of all personnel potentially affected by the presence of harmful Gas.

Your People and Facilities Come First!

At Westech Industrial we provide some of the leading brands in gas detection. Some of our brands include Netsafety / Rosemount which offers the most comprehensive and advanced gas detection technology available. Their gas monitoring systems are designed to excel under the toughest conditions to help you streamline day-to-day operation and, more importantly keep you safe.

To find out more about Westech Industrial NetSafety/ Rosemount gas detection systems call us at (403) 252-8803 or go to our website at https://bit.ly/31SqeKq.



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