Navigating Hazardous Areas

Understanding Certification for North America
February 15, 2020 by
Navigating Hazardous Areas
ProVent, LLC


In the realm of industrial safety, the classification and certification of hazardous areas play a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of workers and the integrity of facilities. For businesses operating in North America, understanding the intricacies of hazardous areas certification is essential for compliance and risk mitigation. Join us as we explore the fundamentals of hazardous areas certification for North America, shedding light on classifications, divisions, and typical hazardous locations encountered in industrial settings.

Understanding Hazardous Areas Certification:

Hazardous areas certification encompasses a set of standards and regulations designed to mitigate the risks associated with flammable gases, vapors, liquids, and combustible dusts in industrial environments. By classifying hazardous areas according to the type and extent of the risks present, certification schemes provide guidelines for the design, installation, and operation of electrical and non-electrical equipment in these environments.

Classifications and Divisions:

In North America, hazardous areas are classified based on the nature of the hazardous materials present and the likelihood of their ignition. The classification system typically consists of two main components: class and division. Classes denote the type of hazardous material (e.g., flammable gases, vapors, combustible dusts), while divisions indicate the likelihood of the material being present in quantities sufficient to cause ignition.

Typical Hazardous Locations:

Hazardous areas can manifest in a variety of industrial settings, each presenting unique challenges and risks. Common hazardous locations include:

  • Chemical Processing Plants: Areas where flammable gases and vapors are present during production, storage, and handling of chemicals.
  • Oil Refineries: Environments containing flammable liquids and vapors, such as those found in refining processes and storage tanks.
  • Grain Mills and Silos: Locations prone to combustible dust explosions due to the presence of fine particles generated during grain processing and storage.
  • Manufacturing Facilities: Areas where flammable solvents, dusts, or vapors are produced or used in manufacturing processes, such as metalworking, woodworking, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Ensuring Compliance and Safety:

For businesses operating in hazardous environments, compliance with hazardous areas certification standards is not only a legal requirement but also a moral imperative. By adhering to established guidelines and best practices, organizations can minimize the risk of catastrophic incidents, protect the safety of workers, and safeguard the integrity of their facilities. Additionally, investing in certified equipment and personnel training ensures that safety remains a top priority across all levels of the organization.


As industries evolve and technological advancements continue to reshape the industrial landscape, the importance of hazardous areas certification cannot be overstated. By understanding the classifications, divisions, and typical hazardous locations prevalent in North American industries, businesses can proactively address risks, enhance safety protocols, and foster a culture of compliance and accountability. As we navigate the complexities of hazardous environments, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting lives, preserving assets, and ensuring a safer, more sustainable future for all.

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