Hazardous Area Classification

Process Safety Risk Management, Area Classification Assessments.

Hazardous Area Classification

  • Do you have a manufacturing or process area with a potentially flammable or explosive atmosphere?
  • Do you need to determine the classification of an area in order to specify and install the appropriate electrical equipment for a new or existing facility?
  • Do you have an out of date Hazardous Area Classification drawing that doesn’t reflect recent changes to the facility or your process?

We can help!  IFO Group consultants can quickly and efficiently help you revise an existing Hazardous Area Classification drawing or provide you with an assessment of a new project.   Just click on the “Request a Consultation” button on the right side of this page, call us, or send us an email and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss your needs!

Hazardous Area Classification (HAC) or Electrical Area Classification (EAC) is a method of analyzing and classifying the environment where hazardous atmospheres may be present so as to facilitate the proper selection and installation of electrical equipment to be used safely in that environment. When electrical equipment is used in, around, or near an atmosphere that has hydrocarbons in the form of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids, combustible dusts, or ignitable fibers, there is always a possibility or risk that a fire or explosion might occur.   Proper Hazardous Area Classifications are a key part of process safety risk management and should be updated and maintained as part of an overall Process safety Management (PSM) program.

Those areas where the risk of fire or explosion might occur due to an explosive atmosphere and/or mixture is often called a hazardous (or classified) location/area.

Currently, there are two systems used to classify these hazardous areas for electrical equipment:

  • Class/Division System(used predominantly in the United States)
  • Zone System

Area Classification Assessments by IFO Group

IFO Group performs area classification assessments in accordance with recognized U.S. and international standards and guidelines applicable to each project such as OSHA 1910.307, NFPA 70 – National Electrical Code Handbook, NFPA 497, NFPA 499, API RP 500, API RP 505, IEC 60079, and ISA 12.10.

A typical hazardous area classification assessment performed by IFO Group follows these basic steps:

  1. Hazardous material identification (flammable gases or vapors, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers).
  2. Selection of risk assessment methodology.
    • point sources vs. blanket classifications
    • code and standard selection
    • division or zone concept selection
  3. Obtain needed documentation such as process drawings, plot plans, safety data sheets, heat and material balances and basis of design information.
  4. Determine the reach of the classified area around each point source. Gas and vapor dispersion modeling software will be needed on a case by case basis for an accurate determination.
  5. Develop the hazardous area classification drawing(s) that reflect all of the point sources. This will include plan and elevation views.
  6. Compile a detailed project report that clearly documents the method and rationale for the area classifications, process safety information, a detailed list of all identified point sources, assumptions, and the results of the dispersion modeling software (if used).

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