WHY DO YOU NEED SPECIALIST ATEX TORCHES?

Torches are often a necessary inclusion in an operatives gear especially when working in confined, or tight areas where there is unlikely to be permanent lighting

Why You Need Compliant Lighting

Torches are often a necessary inclusion in an operatives gear especially when working in confined, or tight areas where there is unlikely to be permanent lighting. The Confined Spaces Regulationa Act from 1997 specifies that “specially protected lighting [is] essential where flammable or potentially explosive atmospheres are likely”. Lighting used in such conditions must be ATEX approved – this confirms that the torches or lighting that you use conforms to EN Standards.

You may wonder why you need a specialist torch, or lamp as the ADR regulations suggest. The type of torch you choose for your work is essential when interacting with hazardous substances. It is key that you use the correct lighting where hazardous substances are present, or potentially present, to avoid any potential risk of explosion. Standard non-compliant torches used in places where explosive dusts or gases are present may result in an explosion. Intrinsically safe torches are used in areas where there is a chance of explosion due to the usage of electrical equipment.

What Does ATEX Mean?

ATEX is a name for the two European Directives that cover explosive atmospheres.

These are:

  1. Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’) on minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.
  2. Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’) on the approximation of the laws of Members States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

In the UK, the government has implemented the “Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002 (DSEAR)”

READ THE ATEX EQUIPMENT DIRECTIVE ON THE EU WEBSITE

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What Does It Mean To Be “Intrinsically Safe”?

The definitition of intrinsic safety is as follows: “Intrinsically safe equipment and wiring shall not be capable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a flammable or combustible atmospheric mixture in its most easily ignitable concentration”

It is a technique used when designing electrical equipment, such as torches, so that it limits both thermal and electrical energy to a minimum – a level below that which is necessary to ignite a specific hazardous atmosphere.

The Fire Triangle

The Types Of Hazard You Need to Consider

There are two types of environment most likely to be relevant when choosing the torches and lamps for your specific needs; dust and gas. Both explosive gas environments and explosive dust environments are referred to as Gas Zones, or hazardous area zones in typical circumstances where the danger of combustion may occur.

Potential Gas Explosive Environment

Potentially explosive gas atmospheres include sites such as petrol stations, petrol station forecourt, the fuel storage tank and the area where the decanting of flammable liquid from the container to Gas Zones are Zone 0, Zone 1 or Zone 2.

Potential Dust Explosive Environment

Potentially explosive dust atmospheres include areas where the decanting of combustible material from the container to containers such as storage tank and tanker. (combustible material in dry form) for gas atmospheres and for dust, the Zones are Zone 20, Zone 21 and Zone 22.

The Area Classification Zone Criteria
Gases Dusts Present continuosly for long periods (<1000 hours per annum) or frequently Classification of Hazardous Areas to EN/IEC 60079-10
Hazardous areas are classified into zones on the basis of the frequency and the duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere. Durations on this table are typical
Zone 0 Zone 20 Present continuosly for long periods (<1000 hours per annum) or frequently
Zone 1 Zone 21 Likely to occur in normal operation, occasionally (>10 hours <1000 hours per annum)
Zone 2 Zone 22 Unlikely to occur in normal operation, if it does, it would only be for short periods (<10 hours per annum)

ATEX Lighting and ADR

To Be Compliant:

  • Each member of the crew must have a ‘pocket lamp’ which is why our ATEX Approved Torches are in all our ADR Driver Kits.
  • The ‘pocket lamp’ must be suitable for use in a flammable atmosphere in certain circumstances.

Application/Where will I need the light?

There may be an occasion when the inside of a fuel storage tank/unit or fuel tanker must be checked and the inherent risk associated with using the conventional or domestic torches is a possible explosion due to combustible dust entering the torch and igniting. Torches and headlamps which adhere to ADR compliance have a chemical resistant coating which is ideal for the petrochemical industry where flammable liquid fuel and gas is present, where other materials would erode.

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