Hazardous locations are areas where there is a risk of fire or explosion due to thepresence of flammable gases, vapors, dusts, liquids, fibers, or flyings. Any product that
is intended to be used in an area classified as “hazardous” must be certified with the
appropriate Hazardous Location (HazLoc) rating for that environment. The United States
& Canada use a Class/Division rating system while the rest of the world uses a Zone
Selection of the HazLoc rating for your product needs to be a well thought-out process.
Unfortunately, there are several common misunderstandings concerning HazLoc ratings
that cause manufacturers to make costly mistakes.
Important HazLoc Rating Considerations:
1) The Best Method for HazLoc Success: Choosing the best protection method to achieve your
desired HazLoc rating is much easier when determined before starting the product design.
This is the best way to maximize your options so you can avoid protection methods that are
more expensive to design and manufacture.
2) Custom Products – Area Classification: Your product needs to be suitable for the intended
installation, so you need to know the HazLoc rating for the installation site.
The first step is to find out the HazLoc rating for the installation site from your
3) High Volume Products – Multiple Users: The rating on your product will dictate where your
product can be used. If you make a product that could be used by a variety of users, you
need to select a HazLoc rating based on all intended uses of your product. This is especially
true if your product is portable. Remember that the user is taught to only use properly rated
products within a classified area – if your product does not have a suitable rating, it will not
be acceptable for the application.
It’s very important that you understand the worst case HazLoc rating for areas where
your product could be used. Too low of a rating and your product may not be
4) Wrong Rating = BIG Penalty: At this point, many manufacturers will do one of two things –
select the highest rating to insure the maximum potential market or choose a low rating to
make it easier to comply. The worst thing you can do is guess your HazLoc rating. Here’s
- Once you select your HazLoc rating, a list of suitable “protection methods” is
identified. “Protection Method” refers to the design method used to achieve the
product’s HazLoc rating. The higher the HazLoc rating, the more significant the
protection method required. Examples of protection methods include Flameproof,
Intrinsically Safe, and Encapsulated.
- Changing your protection method during the compliance project is a big deal
because each protection method has a separate compliance standard. So changing
the protection method means starting over with a different compliance standard.
Do not select a higher level HazLoc rating unless you are prepared to invest significant
effort in compliance design. If you want a Division 1 or Zone 0 rating, you must design
for it. The protection method options for these higher ratings are limited. The related
standards are highly technical necessitating significant effort during the design to
achieve compliance. If you did not specifically design your product to one of these
ratings and protection methods, you will have to redesign.
- Consequently, some manufacturers may choose a lower HazLoc rating that allows for
more protection method options including several that are considered relatively easy
(compared to the higher ratings). However, this thinking can lead to limiting your
potential market. Here’s how:
Consider the manufacturer that guesses Class 1, Division 2. Based on a Class
1, Division 2 rating, a protection method suitable for the rating is selected. Based
on the protection method selected, the appropriate compliance standards are
identified and used for the certification. After the product is certified, the customer
receives an inquiry for their product with a rating of Class 1, Division 1. The
customer returns to the certification lab and asks to increase the HazLoc rating.
However, the original Division 2 protection method is not suitable for the higher
Division 1 rating. The company must then completely redesign the product for a
new protection method, which includes a completely different set of compliance
standards. If you certify with only a Class 1, Division 2 rating, will you get Class
1, Division 1 customer requests? You do not want to go through the HazLoc
certification process twice – be careful in identifying your desired HazLoc rating
in the beginning.
5) Existing Products – Adding a HazLoc Rating: Sometimes you don’t have a choice and you
have to add a HazLoc rating to a product that was not originally designed for HazLoc use.
Adding a HazLoc rating to a finished product leads to fewer options and more frustration
– but it can be done. In most cases, several protection methods can quickly be eliminated
based on the product design and interconnection methods. This leaves few options, but it
will provide a clear path to compliance.
Unsure about your HazLoc Design?
Have CertifiGroup Conduct a Preliminary Review to Identify
the Best Protection Method for Your Product
CertifiGroup Can Guide your HazLoc Product Compliance
& Certify Your HazLoc Product for UL, CSA, ATEX, IECEx