Hazardous areas: Understanding and Protecting Against the Risks

The Oil and Gas industry commonly faces hazardous areas due to dealing with flammable and explosive materials. Thus, it is important to identify these areas to correctly select and install equipment to be used safely in that environment. To help you understand the basics, this article explains the definition of the term and outlines the different zones. Moreover, it highlights why and how pressurized modules are an effective protection method.

What are hazardous areas?

First of all, hazardous areas are defined as locations where there is a potential risk of fire or explosion. Altogether, there are 3 necessary components for a fire/explosion to occur:

  1. A substance that can ignite. This must be present in sufficient quantities to create an explosive mixture (e.g. gas, vapors, mists, or dusts).
  2. Oxygen. This must be present at high levels and mixed with the flammable substance to create an explosive atmosphere.
  3. An ignition source. This can be a spark or high temperature.

Learn more: Protection series – How to protect against fire 

Examples of hazardous areas include oil and gas facilities, chemical plants, refineries, and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants.

What is hazardous area classification?

Hazardous areas are divided into zones based on the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere being present. The classification system provides a standardized method for identifying hazardous areas and ensures proper safety measures are in place.

  • Zone 0:  an area where explosive gas or vapor is present continuously or for long periods. This zone is the most hazardous and requires the highest level of safety precautions.
  • Zone 1: an area where explosive gas or vapor is likely to be present occasionally during normal operations.
  • Zone 2:  an area where explosive gas or vapor is not likely to be present during normal operations but may occur if there is an equipment failure or abnormal situation.
  • Safe Area: once the hazardous areas of a plant have been classified, the remaining area is designated as a non-hazardous/safe area.

How do pressurized modules protect?

Now that we have outlined the characteristics of hazardous areas, let’s unfold how Uniteam can help increase safety in these areas. And one essential component is our high-quality pressurized modules.

In short, pressurized modules prevent the entry of hazardous gases or substances through an effective ventilation system. Accomplished by an airlock compartment, the system maintains positive air pressure inside the module and cleanses out any potential contaminants. This way the air inside the main room remains clean and breathable, which protects the equipment and personnel from the risk of explosions, fires, and other safety hazards.

Besides the innovative ventilation system, the pressurized modules are typically equipped with various other safety features (e.g., EX-approved electrical installations, A60 fire-rated panels, PLC-controlled alarm system, and much more). It all depends on your needs – whether it is an H2S Shelter, Workshop, Operating Room, Laboratory Cabin, etc. – we customize it to suit you and the environment’s required safety measures.

Our top priority is safety

Since we are dedicated to providing safe and high-quality solutions in hazardous environments, we design and manufacture in accordance with the highest industry standards, including DNV 2.7-1/DNV 2.7-2,/EN12079, ATEX, and IECEX.

Do you want to know more about which protection measures, we consider? Don’t hesitate to contact us for additional details.


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