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Gas and dust hazards: Keep your hazardous areas safe

13 April 2016

Since 1997 the EEMUA 186 Practitioner’s Handbook for potentially explosive atmospheres has been the guide of first choice for a great many engineers seeking practical advice on sites with potential combustible gas or dust hazards. Now in its 7th edition, it speaks clearly and with authority on the subject, but always with its feet firmly on the ground. 

Explosive atmosphere hazards are not confined to such obvious industries as oil, gas and chemicals. They also exist in food, water, waste water and a variety of manufacturing environments. The Practitioner’s Handbook is written with full knowledge of the special factors affecting these environments and skilfully guides the reader in the direction of good practice for the reader’s own industry. At the practical level this is enhanced by the close linkage of the CompEx® training scheme content to the material in this publication.

Gain familiarity with the concepts
The first few chapters aim to provide this. There are many rules, regulations and standards:  the significance of each is carefully explained in this publication. The characteristics of gases and vapours and how they are categorised is then explained, followed by important topics which will recur in later chapters, such as Equipment Protection Levels, zones, protection types, equipment markings, and selection of equipment, cables and cable glands. Later chapters focus on specific activities or environments (this listing highlights the main topics covered):

Safety rules and permits, off and on site preparation, installation of equipment with particular types of protection, earthing, lightning and static electricity, completion and sign off.

Services provided by the inspection body, rules, permits, site documentation, types and grade of inspection, inspections specific to equipment protection type, records, reports and completion.

Services provided by the maintenance body, specific duties, commonly encountered maintenance requirements, maintenance for specific equipment protection types, content and use to be made of reports.

Industries working with combustible dusts
What the regulations require, the categorisation of combustible dusts, hazardous area classification applied to dusts, ignition considerations and surface temperatures, protection measures, inspection and maintenance.

Fuel filling stations
Standards and regulations, properties of fuel, filling station zoning, temperature classification, equipment selection, protection of specific filling station equipment, cabling and glanding, earthing, cathodic protection, inspection, testing, safety and permits to work.

Water and waste water industries
The main hazards are outlined for water and waste water sites. Good practice for working in hazardous areas is described. This leads into the application of zoning, zone diagrams and zone documentation.

Training and Competency
EEMUA 186 is rounded off by a description of the related training which is available worldwide through the CompEx® scheme, including a list of the training centres.  

Related topic:
'What's hot in Hazardous Areas?' 28 April 2016. Safe working in hazardous areas has both a human dimension: knowledge and competence, and a physical dimension: use of suitable equipment and materials. This seminar brings the two together, focussing on areas of known difficulty.

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