What does "intrinsically safe" mean?

You may have come across the term "intrinsic safety" in reference to a piece of equipment that is "intrinsically safe." Intrinsic safety is a required standard for devices that are operated in highly volatile areas that may include flammable gases, powders or fuels.

The standard ensures that an "intrinsically safe device" is incapable of triggering combustion or igniting any gasses or fuels. To put it simply, you can use it around gasses or fuels without risking static electricity or heat discharge from the device igniting the surrounding volatile gasses, powders and liquids.

ISA-RP12-6 defines intrinsically safe equipment as "equipment and wiring which is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a specific hazardous atmospheric mixture in its most easily ignited concentration."

If you're looking for intrinsically safe devices, you're probably already aware of the situations and scenarios in which these devices are required. But for those that aren't, there are many volatile workplaces have the requirement for devices operating in the field to be intrinsically safe. These include gas refineries, mines, military, farms, plants, and many other situations that have the potential for gases, powders, and flammable liquids to be ignited.

Combustion (fire) requires a fuel source, oxygen, and an ignition source. In environments such as gas refineries, there are often flammable gas vapours, or powders and dust in the air along with oxygen, creating an environment where an ignition source is all that's required. This is where an intrinsically safe device is important as it avoids the risk of ignition.

Intrinsically safe devices are designed from the ground up to be safe to operate in these highly volatile and dangerous workplaces, from the temperatures generated, to electrical insulation, materials, and design.

Smartrak offers the intrinsically safe Protector Ex - a variation of Smartrak's Protector Pro designed and tested for operation in volatile environments that may contain flammable gases, powders, or fuel.

If you have questions about the suitability of a Protector Ex in your workplace, please contact Smartrak for a deeper dive into your organisations' requirements.

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