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When purchasing a flashlight, it is important to know when and where it can be safely operated. If your flashlight is safety rated, it means it is tested and approved to be used in areas with potentially harmful chemicals or other types of environments that are hazardous. Each class and division represents a certain environment in which it is safe to use your flashlight. In this guide, we are going to take a look at the different safety ratings a flashlight can receive and what each rating means.

To break it down, safety ratings are classified by class, division, groups, and temperature codes:

Class represents hazardous materials that could cause an explosion.
Division represents the probability of an explosion.
Groups represent what elements are present that could cause an explosion.
Temperature Codes represent ignitable gases/combustible dusts and what temperature that could cause them to ignite.

Class Types

Depending on the class, you may safely use your flashlight around certain environments or chemicals. As an example, if your flashlight is safety rated for Class II areas, you may use it in areas where there are combustible dusts such as grain elevators or coal preparation plants.

Class Type of Hazardous Material
Class I Flammable gases, vapors, or liquids. Examples of Class I locations are petroleum refineries, utility gas plants, gasoline storage and dispensing areas, and dry cleaning plants.
Class II Combustible dusts. Examples of Class II locations are grain elevators, coal preparation plants, and producers of plastics, medicines, and fireworks, spices, sugar, and cocoa.
Class III Ignitable fibers and flyings. Examples of Class III locations are textile mills and plants that create sawdust as a by product.

Division Types

Each class is divided up into two divisions. Divisions are broken up by the likelihood of an explosion occurring. If your flashlight is safety rated for Division I areas, it can be used where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids exist some/all of the time under normal operating conditions.

Division Presence of Hazardous Material
Division I Where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids can exist all of the time or some of the time under normal operating conditions. Examples of a Division I location are loading zones or areas near relief valves at a petroleum refinery because flammable hazardous materials exist under normal operation.
Divison II Where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids are likely to exist under normal operating conditions. An example of a Division II location is a storage room with oil drums. An ignitable concentration of gas vapors would only exist under abnormal operating conditions, if a drum were to be leaking.

Group Types

Each group signifies elements that could potentially create explosions. They are sorted by similarity. Groups A-D relates to Class 1 and groups E-G relate to Class 2.

Group Nature of Hazardous Material
Group A Acetylene (usually used in welding)
Group B Hydrogen or gases of equivalent hazard (includes ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, etc.)
Group C Ethlyene or gases of equivalent hazard (includes carbon monoxide, ether, etc.)
Group D Propane (includes butane, gasoline, natural gas, ammonia, hexane, ethanol, etc.)
Group E Metal dust (division 1 only - includes aluminum an magnesium dust)
Group F Coal dust (includes charcoal dust, coal, etc.)
Group G Grain dust (includes starch, flour, etc.)

Temperature Guide

An extremely important category, this guide shows how hot your equipment may become before it could cause ignition of any hazardous materials nearby. Temp codes only relate to Class 1 and 2.

Temperature Code Max Surface Temp °F Max Surface Temp °C
T1 842 450
T2 572 300
T2A 536 280
T2B 500 260
T2C 446 230
T2D 419 215
T3 392 200
T3A 356 180
T3B 329 165
T3C 320 160
T4 275 135
T4A 248 120
T5 212 100
T6 185 85

Intrinsic Safety vs. Explosion Proof

Your flashlight may also be intrinsically safe, meaning that your flashlight will either not produce sparks at all, or not produce enough sparks to ignite any potentially flammable materials. Secondly, mechanisms within the flashlight are safe from extreme temperatures meaning your flashlight will not overheat from the inside and it is perfectly safe from igniting hazardous materials in the area. However, this is different if your equipment is marked as explosion proof. Equipment that is explosion proof is able to contain explosions internally, meaning that should an explosion occur, it will be contained within your flashlight.

Please Note: A flashlight is only safe for the area it was tested in. As an example, your flashlight could be intrinsically safe for a Class II, Division II environment, however, you absolutely cannot assume it is safe for environments of a different Class. Take care to use proper batteries and chargers as well.

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