Dangerous substances can severely impact an individual’s safety and put them at risk of fires, explosions, and corrosion. They are classified as any substance that is used or present at work that would, if not properly controlled, cause harm. Often found in virtually all workplaces, they include solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases pressurised gases and substances corrosive to metal.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) have been created in order to control the risks and protect employees from them. The regulation puts the responsibility onto the employer to protect both their staff and members of the public who may be at risk by the work activities.
To meet the regulations employers are required to:
- find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the risks are
- put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
- put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
- prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents, and emergencies
- make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks
- identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources in those areas
Hazardous Area Classification
Hazardous areas are defined in DSEAR as “any place in which an explosive atmosphere may occur in quantities such as to require special precautions to protect the safety of workers”. Classification of the area is a form of analysing and classifying the environment where dangerous substances and explosive gas atmospheres may occur. The main goal is to facilitate the ideal apparatus and that the selection and installation are correct for that environment such as vehicles. This includes considering the properties of any flammable material, mobile equipment, and sources of ignition.
The first stage is to identify the sources where flammable gas or vapour might be released. This could be from constant activity, time to time or as a result of an unplanned event. Furthermore, inside equipment could also be classed as a hazardous area if both gas or vapour and air are present. The most commonly used standard in the UK for determining area extent and classification is BS EN 60079 part 10, which covers a wide range of areas.
Once classified the hazardous areas are then split into hazardous zones. This is based upon the frequency of the occurrence and duration of an explosive gas atmosphere.
- Zone 0: An area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods.
- Zone 1: An area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation.
- Zone 2: An area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal operation and, if it occurs, will only exist for a short time.
When the area has been classified and zoned, the remaining areas are defined as non-hazardous, sometimes referred to as ‘safe areas’.
The equipment that can be used within each zone is defined in DSEAR and applies to new or newly modified installations. Furthermore, the Equipment and Protective Systems for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (EPS) outlines further advice.
Explosion Proof Vehicles
The Alkè range of explosion proof vehicles from ePower Trucks are the ideal vehicle for any zone or industry. Built and developed for the most demanding working conditions across mining industries, petrochemical, gas plants, and tunnel construction. ePower Trucks explosion proof vehicles can work in high-risk areas with a potentially explosive atmosphere – gases or flammable vapours (zones 1 and 2).
Our range includes the ATX 340EX model with load capacity up to 1.205 kg, tow up to 4.500 kg, and have an autonomy level of up to 90 km with a single recharge. In addition to, the ED version, ATX 340EDX, has a twin cab, so it can accommodate 4 people. Both of which have an air-conditioning system designed to work at up to 55°C, and an electric heating system. Contact ePower Trucks today to find out more about our services.