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New commented version of standard on classification of areas for Ex environments
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The IEC has published the third edition of IEC 60079-10-1, Explosive atmospheres –Part 10-1: Classification of areas – Explosive gas atmospheres. A commented version of the standard is available, highlighting all changes from the previous edition as well as providing comments explaining the most relevant changes. The commented version is meant to make use of the standard easier for all stakeholders.

The new edition is published by IEC SC 31J, a subcommittee of IEC Technical Committee 31 which prepares international standards relating to the use of equipment, including area classification, the selection and installation, inspection and maintenance, repair, overhaul and reclamation of equipment where there is a hazard due to the possible presence of explosive atmospheres of gases, vapours, mists or combustible dusts.

IEC 60079-10-1 sets out the essential criteria for the classification of areas where there may be a fire or explosion risk due the possible presence of flammable gas or vapour. The standard provides guidance on factors relevant to such assessments as well as design and control parameters.

While the standard is primarily intended to aid in the selection and installation of equipment to prevent ignition sources in areas with explosion risks it is also a useful adjunct for other plant safety issues.

This new edition sets out more clearly the factors relevant to the classification of hazardous areas, helps avoid ambiguities and makes the standard more user-friendly.

It provides the basic principles for hazardous area classification and recognizes numerous national or industry codes that may provide further detail or specific examples of hazardous area classification. It also includes a number of simplified assessment tools for use in applications where the use of such tools is considered an acceptable option.

The standard is meant for engineers in a wide range of industries such as mining, oil and gas, petroleum distribution, petrochemical, printing, wastewater treatment, pharmaceutical, adhesives and paint manufacturing, cement production, shipyards, wood industry, food production and many others. It will also be a reference standard for many government agencies related to workplace safety and safe management of these types of industries.

To make sure that equipment used in Ex areas meets the very strict requirements specified in international standards, such as IEC 60079-10-1, as well as those put in place by national or regional regulations and legislation, the Ex industry can rely on IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres for testing and certification.

An IECEx certificate provides clear proof of compliance with international standards, an important assurance for anyone responsible for the safety of those working in such areas and the equipment they operate. The System addresses the inspection (location and other), installation, maintenance and repair of equipment and systems and assesses the competence of personnel working in this highly specialized area.

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