Guidelines for Determining Hazardous Area Classifications

29 February 2016

Reference #:  IB-EL 2016-01

The following Bulletin provides guidance on the application of electrical codes and the documentation requirements relating to the installation of electrical equipment in facilities where hazardous concentrations of gas, vapours or dust may be encountered. See Sections 18, 20 and Appendix L of the BC Electrical Code.

Topic:  Installations in hazardous areas

This Bulletin is issued to inform owners, operating permit holders, designers, operators, and installers of electrical equipment of the special requirements found in the BC Electrical Code regarding electrical equipment in classified areas. Proper application of the codes, standards, and recommended practices for any given installation requires knowledge, training and experience.  Electrical contractors are required familiarize themselves with these rules and requirements when engaging in installations which may be classified.

Appendix L – “Engineering guidelines for determining hazardous area locations” is new to the 2015 BC Electrical Code. This Appendix, while not mandatory, provides guidance in the determination of hazardous areas in facilities where explosive atmospheres can occur. Examples of facilities where explosive gas atmospheres can exist include the natural gas and related hydrocarbon industries, refineries, distilleries, spray booths and similar locations. Explosive dust atmospheres can exist in food, plastics, lumber and wood processing facilities, rubber, furniture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and dye industries.

Authorities having jurisdiction may require designs and specifications signed by recognized professionals before authorizing the issuance of a permit or allowing electrical work to proceed. In addition to electrically code compliant installations, owners and their representatives are responsible to ensure comprehensive procedures and safety plans are in place to provide effective responses to foreseeable incidents.

References:
Safety Standards Act
Electrical Safety Regulation
Safety Standards General Regulation
Safety Standards Act Repeal and Transitional Provisions Regulations

Ulrich Janisch
Provincial Safety Manager - Electrical