A hazardous area is a three-dimensional space in which an explosive atmosphere is or may be expected to be present or form. Electrical equipment within the hazardous area must be suitably rated and effectively earthed to ensure that any ignition risks are adequately controlled. Special precautions are required for the construction, installation and use of potential ignition sources, as fire and explosion can result in catastrophic consequences for people and property.
The first step to identifying the fire and explosion risk of an installation is to conduct a hazardous area classification to determine whether any zones where an explosive atmosphere exists or may be expected to be present will affect the level of protection for electrical equipment.
Wherever flammable liquids, vapours, gases and combustible dusts are used, stored, handled or generated, a hazardous area classification is required to assess the risk of fire and explosion. Any person with management or control for an installation with an explosive atmosphere risk has a duty to ensure such a classification has been made.