A Quick Guide to Hazardous Location Lighting

Author: Evelyn y

May. 06, 2024

A Quick Guide to Hazardous Location Lighting

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LED lighting is perhaps one of the most energy efficient contributions to the lighting and electrical equipment industry that has transformed the way we perceive the concept of illumination. Its steady acceptance can be witnessed in various industries owing to its efficiency and versatility. The innovative technology has also been a ground-breaking addition to different sectors, and is gradually becoming the most sought-after lighting option in hazardous locations as well.

Hazardous locations can be defined as highly industrialized areas with harsh & hazardous environments that may contain explosive vapors & gases, and as a result, have specialized lighting requirements. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), Hazardous locations are those areas “where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers or flyings.”

Hazardous locations or areas are usually classified by specialists in the field, such as electrical inspectors, engineers, owners, area experts, and insurance companies. They may divide extreme locations into either ordinary (shocks & fires) or hazardous (explosion prone) areas.

Classification of Hazardous Locations

OSHA says that hazardous locations can be divided into three different classes and their respective divisions; division 1 is for presence of flammable or ignitable substances under normal operations or machinery malfunction, while division 2 is for presence of ignitable or flammable substances under unusual operating conditions.


Source: OSHA

Class I Locations: Class I hazardous locations are defined by the presence of sufficient flammable vapors or gases present in the air that can cause harm by potential explosion or ignition caused by an electrical issue or any other source that can cause fire. LEDs like Enzo UFO High Bay have a rugged explosion-proof construction that makes them ideal for rough industrial environment, and certified for use in Class I, Division 2, Groups A, B, C, D.

Following can be considered Class I hazardous locations:

- Petroleum refineries
- Gasoline storage and dispensing areas
- Utility gas plants
- Places for storage and handling of liquified petroleum gas or natural gas

Class II Locations: These locations are defined as those locations that have enough presence of combustible dust in the air that could cause explosion or are ignitable. For such areas, LEDs like Ergo Linear High Bay for Class II, Division 1 & 2, Groups E, F, G can be a valuable addition as its compact design makes an excellent replacement for bulky, high maintenance fixtures in dusty locations.

Some locations that can be classified under this category are as follows:

- Grain elevators
- Flour & feed mills
- Industrial plants that deal with magnesium or aluminum powders

Class III Locations: Class III hazardous locations are defined as places that contain easily ignitable fibers and flyings, which even though are not suspended in the air, can be found near machinery or lighting fixture, and may get ignited from heat or electric spark. LEDs like Trabuco Outdoor Area Light are excellent for Class III hazardous locations as they provide wide & narrow optics for uniform illumination, leading to better visibility and making flyings easily noticeable.

Following locations can be classified under this category:

- Textile mills, cotton gins (engine)
- Cotton seed mills
- Industrial plants involved in wood-based construction, creating sawdust or flyings

Hazardous Location Lighting

Lighting for hazardous locations are often termed as HazLoc lights and are designed to minimize the risk of explosions caused by any sparks within its housing or any other accidental events. Such lights are explosion-proof, and are meant to ensure overall well-being of not just workers, but businesses as well.

When you add LEDs to the mix, it further makes sure that you save on energy costs as well without compromising on safety. HazLoc LEDs are put through rigorous tests and safety procedures, go through stringent quality checks, and are certified before being sold for use.

Let us go through different industry standards and certifications for HazLoc LEDs and how they make sure that you find the right product based on your needs.

HazLoc LED Industry standards

NFPA: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a global non-profit organization that publishes information about different codes and standards that are relevant to various industries and their practices. It also delivers information and knowledge on hazard assessment via NFPA 497 (explosive gas) and NFPA 499 (dust). The NFPA 70® is for National Electrical Code (NEC), which will be discussed next.

NEC: The National Electrical Code (NEC) under NFPA 70® is “the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards”. It covers electrical installations/removal, electrical conductors, equipment, and raceways among others in locations like public & private premises, industrial substations, etc.

IP Rating: Ingress Protection or International Protection rating is a set of codes implemented to rate and classify the degree of protection provided by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures against different elements. Some of these elements include dust and water, intrusion, accidental contact, etc.

IK Rating: Impact protection rating, according to UL, is defined “as IKXX, where “XX” is a number from 00 to 10 indicating the degrees of protection provided by electrical enclosures (including luminaires) against external mechanical impacts”. It determines the ability of electrical or lighting enclosures to withstand high energy impacts, how it should be mounted, atmospheric conditions, among other criteria.

NEMA: The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) defines different heavy-duty electrical enclosures for various categories of lighting depending on access to hazardous parts and additional type-dependent designated environmental conditions. Such LED products are usually seen in industrial as well as hazardous locations.

ATEX: The Atmosphères Explosibles (ATEX) is a certification standard by the European Union that “covers equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres”. According to UL, HazLoc and explosion-proof equipment that are ‘intended for installation’ in the EU region should be compliant with ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU.

IECEx: The International Electrotechnical Commission System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres (IECEx System) is meant to “facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres, while maintaining the required level of safety”. It defines ‘Ex’ areas as “Hazardous Locations”, “Hazardous Areas”, or “Explosive Atmospheres”.

RoHS: The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. HazLoc LED products with RoHS certification assure not just quality but sustainable practices as well.

Types of HazLoc LEDs and their Application areas

Now, let us explore some common types of HazLoc LEDs available for different lighting requirements.

LED High Bays: High Bay LEDs are used for lighting or illuminating spaces with high ceilings. Such luminaires are an excellent option for units/buildings in hazardous locations as they allow for clear visibility through even light distribution. The placement of such LED fixtures makes them ideal for commercial and industrial use in areas like ocean, marine and aerospace fields, pumping stations or any other space with high humidity, high temperature, or high dust environments.


ENZO HIGH BAY LED LIGHT

LED Area Lights: As the name suggests, LED area lights are used to illuminate outdoor spaces. HazLoc LED outdoor area lights are designed to be explosion-proof, and can be used to provide optimum lighting in areas like oil refineries & gas stations, oil & gasoline loading docks, distilleries, and other hazardous outdoor locations.

LED Jelly Jar Lights: Jelly jar lights are designed to be vapor-proof, meaning these fixtures are sealed and gasketed. Such fixtures are rated for wet/damp locations, and can be used in industries like oil & gas, and LNG & chemicals. It can also find application in flour & fine particle production and storage facilities, and other high humidity, high dust, high temperature, and high vapor locations.

LED Exit Signs: LED emergency exit signs are suitable for hazardous locations, especially those that have a presence of flammable vapors or gases, or combustible dust. It provides distinct, highly visible exit marking to indicate safe egress areas during power outages and other emergencies. Some common application areas are: manufacturing & chemical plants, paint shops, oil refineries, gas stations, industrial facilities, warehouses, processing plants, and other Class I, Division 2 hazardous locations.

Trouble Work Lights: Trouble work lights are a small, yet significant addition to HazLoc lighting. Such handheld work site luminaires are excellent for tasks or general illumination in small and confined spaces, and can be used in Class I, II and III hazardous locations like manufacturing plants, chemical plants, oil refineries, industrial facilities, warehouses, processing plants.

For more mam companyinformation, please contact us. We will provide professional answers.

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Benefits of HazLoc LEDs

There are several advantages of using LEDs designed specifically for hazardous locations. Let us discuss some of them.

Explosion-proof design: Standard light fixtures are usually composed of a design that exposes the bulb, contacts, wiring, and switches to external atmosphere. In such cases, spark from a loose contact, movement of the switch, or even heat from the bulb is enough to ignite and lead to a flammable environment. However, in case of explosion-proof LED lights, the components are encased to prevent potential sparks or flames from escaping the internal housing.

Allow greater mobility: Explosion-proof LED lights are built with a sturdy frame and thicker tempered glass lenses, making them highly resistant to vibrations. This durable design allows the easy transportation of these lights from one place to another by forklifts or other machines without the risk of damage or malfunction, thus making them more portable. This feature also makes them an ideal choice for operators who require mobile illumination.

Durable & tough: Given the rugged build of the explosion-proof light fixtures with sturdier materials, they offer a high degree of durability in comparison to standard light fixtures as they can withstand harsher working environments. This makes them a better choice for operators as it will not be easily damaged like standard light fixtures, and would reduce maintenance & furbishing costs.

High efficiency: Explosion-proof HazLoc LED lights are extremely energy efficient. They put to use more than 90% of the energy to produce light and have near-zero heat or conversion loss to account for, which means that they use a lot less power to function. Additionally, organizations save on-site energy from portable generators and other in situ sources, providing more sustainable and profitable operations. In other words, you can save more money from explosion-proof LEDs in comparison to standard non-LED explosion-proof luminaires.

Flexible options: Modern explosion-proof LED lights come in modular designs and multiple mounting options to allow multitudes of options in their application. They allow light output to be easily adjusted to match your required light levels or adapt to existing access points, all while saving energy and money.

Mercury-free: Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, another aspect that sets apart HazLoc LEDs from other HazLoc luminaires is that the former is mercury-free and environment-friendly. It reduces disposal costs and is a sustainable alternative to your lighting requirements.

In terms of market reach, Mordor Intelligence predicts that the Hazardous Location LED Lighting sector  is “expected to reach USD 636.6 million by 2025, registering a CAGR of 8.86%, during the period of 2020 – 2025". The report further suggests that the largest market for HazLoc LEDs is North America. It also adds that the industrial & manufacturing industry in the United States accounts for 32% of the country’s energy usage. If such encouraging projections are to be believed, it might lead to greater adoption of LEDs in hazardous locations.

Establishments in hazardous locations create some of the most extreme work environments in the world, and as it has been established, can be prone to explosions and other accidents, impacting those who work in such dangerous circumstances. Therefore, it is apparent that ensuring the safety of workers and establishments in such locations should be prioritized, and explosion-proof LEDs can help you achieve that goal with an improved ROI as a bonus.

When you think about safety, think explosion-proof HazLoc LEDs!

Hazardous Location Lighting Guide

Plenty of commercial facilities have areas where lighting fixtures can come into contact with hazardous materials. These can be flammable, combustible, or ignitable materials, gases, or vapors. These areas can be at risk of fire or even explosion if the lighting fixtures can’t withstand the abnormal conditions.

So, you definitely don’t want to make the wrong choices.

Selecting LED lighting specifically designed for hazardous locations is critical for the safety and security of both people and property. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to recommend the right LED lights for hazardous location lighting.

What Types of Industries Require Hazardous Location Lighting?

It’s easy to identify some target industries. They work with flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dusts, ignitable fibers, or other substances. This is true of chemical plants, oil/gas refineries, and pulp and paper or steel mills. Any other manufacturing applications that involve high temperatures or combustible materials would apply as well.

Some companies have storage areas or other facilities that need hazardous location lighting, even if they’re not one of those common industries. For instance, wastewater treatment plants use liquid gas. Many agricultural products like flour are highly combustible. And even a seemingly “clean” facility where clothing is manufactured can generate dust fibers.

The good news is you don’t have to guess. There are industry standards that identify the abnormal conditions that call for hazardous location lighting.

What Industry Standards Apply?

To be sure the right lighting fixtures are used within hazardous settings, various industry groups and regulatory bodies have established standards.

  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a nonprofit focused on fire, electrical and related hazards. Virtually every building, process, service, design, and installation is affected by NFPA’s 275+ codes and standards.
  • The NFPA codes related to electrical wiring and equipment are the S. National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Canadian equivalent, the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). These codes classify risk levels for hazardous location lighting.
  • Finally, the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor enforces regulations to ensure safe and healthy workplaces.

New and existing facilities need to operate in accordance with these codes, standards, and regulations. The NEC has created a classification system to identify when hazardous location lighting is needed.

What Environments Require Hazardous Location Lighting?

Both the NEC and CEC have adopted standards which classify risk levels for hazardous location lighting. These standards identify three broad classes based on what is present in the environment, and then groups for the type of material:

Class I: Locations where flammable gases/vapors are present in quantities that can ignite if they come into contact with open flames or electrical sparks:

  • Group A: Acetylene
  • Group B: Hydrogen
  • Group C: Ethylene
  • Group D: Propane

Class II: Locations where combustible dusts are present:

  • Group E: Metal Dusts
  • Group F: Carbonaceous Dusts
  • Group G: Non-Conductive Dusts (these include plastic, wood, grain, flour, etc.)
Class III: Locations where ignitable fibers are present.

: Locations where ignitable fibers are present.

Within these three classes, hazardous lighting locations are further broken down into two divisions. Each is based on the level of exposure of the hazardous material. For example:

  • Division 1: Ignitable elements are present regularly or at periodic times during normal operations, or they may be released with any regular maintenance or equipment malfunction.
  • Division 2: Ignitable elements are present but are contained and controlled with positive ventilation and other systems.

Of course, lighting fixtures are just one element of an electrical system. The facility will want to be sure their conduits and switches are also up to code. They should meet the standards of the highest-rated fixture installed. Otherwise, the whole system is out of compliance.

It’s also smart for customers to think ahead to how areas of the facility may be used in the future. A standard storage area could be used for chemicals or compressed gas at some point. It is better to err on the side of caution and specify hazardous location lighting now.

What if I'm Still Not Sure Which Class, Division and Group Applies?

When in doubt, reach out to the facility owner’s OSHA representative. On site inspection is one of their regular functions. They will be familiar with the facility and what activities occur there. They can help identify exactly what class, division, and group the hazards fall under, if any.

What’s the Risk of Using Standard Lighting Vs. Hazardous Location Lighting?

Lighting that isn’t designed for use in a hazardous location opens up the company to a number of risks and potential costs:

Health & Safety

The biggest risk is that of explosion or a fire. Fortunately, LED lights in particular have fewer components that can cause or ignite a fire when exposed to flammable gases or vapors.

When there is a fire in a lighting system, it often starts within the conduit system. Some conduits have been in plants forever. Those may have issues with moisture condensation. Shorting or arcing within the conduit system instantly transmits all the way down the line to the fixture. Fires or explosions from the wrong fixtures, conduits and switches can cause catastrophic damage to people and property.

Non-Compliance Fines

Non-compliance with standards can lead to stiff fines – but that’s just the beginning. If the wrong fixtures are installed, they will have to replaced with ones that meet code. Lights installed in hazardous locations must comply with OSHA, NFPA, or NEC/CEC standards by law. Companies caught with non-compliant lights in hazardous locations may even find themselves subject to lawsuits, which we don’t need to tell you can be very, very expensive.

Lessened Durability


Challenging environments call for lights that are sturdier. They need to be capable of standing up to hazardous materials while still providing as much light as possible. Even when there is low risk of fire or explosion, fixtures that are not designed to withstand hazardous locations are simply less durable. Over time they will require more frequent, costly replacement.

Litetronics Hazardous Location High Bay

A great way to avoid these problems altogether is to choose fixtures specifically designed for hazardous locations. For example, Litetronics’ LED Hazardous Location High Bay is suitable for many hazardous settings and is approved for Class I, Division 2, Groups A, B, C, and D environments.

The fixture protects against possible power surges and sparks by securing all wiring within a sealed chamber and is corrosion-resistant with tempered glass for added durability. Litetronics’ LED Hazardous Location High Bay is also IP66-rated to protect against the intrusion of dust, heavy seas, or powerful jets of water.

See for yourself in this video:

When selecting hazardous location lighting, you’ll want to be sure to choose a fixture that is suitable for the class, division, and group of your facility’s environment.

Hazardous locations aren’t the place to skimp on safety or standards. Litetronics’ LED Hazardous Location High Bay delivers the utmost in energy efficiency, ensuring bright, cost-saving, and low-maintenance lighting that will support your customer’s high-hazard operations for years to come.

By: Archie Gambrel, Regional Sales Manager, Priority Solutions Group

For more information, please visit explosion proof fluorescent fixtures.

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