This is the question that many people ask themselves. There are so many standards and practices, so different from each other. You have the Class, Division & Group classification in North America and the Zone and Group system in Europe, Asia and Australia. The NEC also talks about Zones in Article 505 and there is the IEC-Ex harmonization scheme. To make matters more interesting, we have ATEX in the EU.This all adds to the confusion.
On the other hand, all of us agree that a lack of understanding of how to carry out area classification, can result in a disaster at worst, or at best, a huge lifecycle cost. How? If a poor area classification scheme results in a hazardous area marked as non-hazardous, then that is an invitation to a disaster. Similarly, overzealous area classification can result in large swathes of your plant marked as hazardous, when in reality they need not be. If a typical life of a process plant is about 30 years then you have 30 years of increased maintenance and operations costs, that will fly under the radar of most managers. So it will bleed your plant dry without anybody noticing it. Great, isn’t it?
So here’s an answer. Get your copy of the new Practical Guide to Hazardous Area Classification, recently released by Abhisam Software. It costs just $27, but is worth many more times in the value that it offers. In addition to a compilation of all the well known standards and systems of classification, it has practical examples from working process plants including drawings and photos, to give you a unique perspective on Area Classification. And if you do not want to spend even the $27 on it, you can get it free, if you buy the Hazardous Area Instrumentation course from them, but I think it’s only for a limited time.
You can drop your feedback/review of this book in the comments section.
If you would like to know more about how proper hazardous area classification is important, you can refer to a blog post on this blog earlier here.