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IEC 60079: Explosive Atmospheres - Equipment and Safety Standards

IEC 60079: Explosive Atmospheres - Equipment and Safety Standards




Explosive atmospheres pose a significant risk in many industrial settings, where the presence of flammable gases, vapors, or combustible dusts can lead to catastrophic explosions. To mitigate this risk, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has developed a series of standards, including IEC 60079, which specifies equipment and safety requirements for use in explosive atmospheres. Compliance with these standards is essential to ensure the safety of workers, protect facilities, and prevent potentially devastating accidents.


History and Development of IEC 60079


The development of IEC 60079 can be traced back to the mid-20th century when industrial accidents caused by explosive atmospheres raised concerns about the safety of electrical and mechanical equipment used in hazardous locations. In response to these challenges, the IEC established a technical committee to develop standards that address the unique requirements of explosive atmospheres. The result was the IEC 60079 series, which provides comprehensive guidelines for the design, testing, and certification of equipment intended for use in potentially explosive environments.


Scope of IEC 60079


IEC 60079 covers a wide range of topics related to explosive atmospheres, including the classification of hazardous areas, the selection of appropriate equipment, and the installation and maintenance of safety measures. The standard is divided into several parts, each focusing on specific aspects of equipment design, testing, and certification. These include requirements for electrical equipment, non-electrical equipment, protective systems, and safeguarding techniques to prevent the ignition of hazardous substances.


One of the key elements of IEC 60079 is the classification of hazardous areas based on the presence of explosive atmospheres. This classification helps determine the level of risk associated with different areas of a facility and influences the selection of equipment that is safe for use in those areas. By following the guidelines outlined in the standard, industrial operators can reduce the likelihood of ignitions and explosions, thereby protecting personnel and property from harm.


Benefits of Compliance with IEC 60079


Compliance with IEC 60079 offers several benefits to industries operating in potentially explosive atmospheres. By using equipment that meets the standard's safety requirements, companies can minimize the risk of accidents, fires, and explosions, thereby safeguarding their employees and assets. Additionally, compliance with IEC 60079 can help organizations demonstrate regulatory compliance, meet insurance requirements, and enhance their reputation for safety and reliability.


Furthermore, compliance with IEC 60079 can lead to increased operational efficiency and cost savings. By using properly designed and certified equipment, companies can avoid unplanned downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and improve the overall reliability of their operations. This can result in higher productivity, lower insurance premiums, and a safer work environment for employees.


Implementation of IEC 60079


Implementing IEC 60079 requires a comprehensive understanding of the standard's requirements and guidelines. Companies operating in explosive atmospheres should conduct thorough risk assessments to identify hazardous areas, classify them appropriately, and select equipment that is suitable for use in those areas. Training programs and resources are available to help personnel understand the principles of explosion protection, equipment selection, and maintenance practices needed to comply with IEC 60079.




IEC 60079 is a crucial standard for industries operating in explosive atmospheres, providing essential guidelines for the design, testing, and certification of equipment used in hazardous locations. By following the requirements of the standard, companies can enhance safety, prevent accidents, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. The continued development and implementation of IEC 60079 will help mitigate the risks associated with explosive atmospheres, protect workers and facilities, and promote a culture of safety and responsibility in industrial operations.



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