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Hazardous Area Classification

using Quadvent

Dr Mat Ivings, Dr Richard Goff

HSE’s Buxton Laboratory
February 2018
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In this paper we discuss hazardous area classification (HAC), the safety regulations which require a HAC to be carried out as
part of your risk assessment, some of the challenges presented by HAC, and how the software tool Quadvent can be used to
help you complete your assessment quicker and more effectively.

Carrying out a HAC assessment can often be perceived to be a difficult and time consuming task. It is clearly very important
that the conclusions from the assessment are appropriate to avoid the accidental ignition of flammable substances. The
Quadvent software tool helps make this task easier however, by providing output quickly that can be used directly in your HAC
assessments, managing your workplace risks and meeting the needs of the safety regulations.
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DSEAR – the need for Hazardous Area Classification

The Dangerous Substances and When carrying out the risk

Explosive Atmospheres Regulations assessment, Regulation 6 requires
2002 (DSEAR) apply to all workplaces that consideration should be given
in Great Britain and cover risks to to eliminating or reducing of risks
employees, contractors, visitors and from dangerous substances so far as
the public. The regulations apply reasonably practicable, substituting
where dangerous substances are or
with less hazardous substances where
are liable to be present (for example
possible. Where this is not possible
materials classified under the
the risks should be controlled and
Classification, Labelling and Packaging
(CLP) regulations as flammable or
explosive). It is a requirement under
As part of the risk assessment,
DSEAR to ensure that the risks from
Regulation 7 requires that areas
dangerous substances are eliminated
where explosive atmospheres could
or reduced so far as is reasonably
occur should be identified as part of
practicable. a Hazardous Area Classification
exercise. These areas should be zoned
Regulation 5 requires a company and signs provided. In these zones
to undertake an assessment of the suitable ATEX1 compliant equipment
risks from the dangerous substances and protective systems should be
present. The assessment should be installed, and suitable work clothing
suitable and sufficient and include provided. The classification of these
consideration of: zones is known as area classification.

JJ The hazardous properties of

substances including information
provided by suppliers
JJ Work processes using hazardous
substances, the amounts used and
risks from a loss of containment
JJ Arrangements for safe handling,
storage and transport for
substances and waste
JJ Higher risk activities e.g.

1 #whatatex
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Hazardous Area Classification: further details

Grades of Release
Grade Description of release
As part of the process of hazardous
area classification, releases of Continuous Expected to occur frequently, or occur for long
dangerous substances are divided into periods
three categories or grades:
Primary Expected to occur occasionally during normal

Secondary Not expected to occur during normal operation, and

if it does occur, is only likely for short periods

Approaches to Hazardous
Zone Definitions Area Classification
For outdoor releases or indoor There is a need to calculate zones in
releases with adequate ventilation, a cautious manner, but not to obtain
Continuous releases give rise to a overly conservative results, such
Zone 0, Primary releases give a Zone 1 that money can be spent on ATEX
and Secondary releases lead to a Zone equipment in areas of genuine risk
2. For less than adequate ventilation, and not wasted on excessively large
Secondary releases lead to a Zone 1 zoned areas. Area classification is
and Primary releases to a Zone 0, due often perceived to be difficult and
to the ventilation not being sufficient to many different sources of guidance
disperse the flammable atmosphere. are available.
The adequacy of the ventilation can be
judged from the size of the hypothetical Some of the more common sources of
gas cloud volume, Vz, or the average guidance are briefly reviewed below.
concentration of flammable gas in the The approaches include standard zone
enclosure during a steady release. sizes for specific types of equipment
and/or estimation of zone sizes
If the hazard posed by a release is through calculations for each potential
deemed to be so small that significant release. The Quadvent software,
injury or damage to equipment won’t described in more detail below,
occur then a zone can be defined provides a quick and convenient way
to be of Negligible Extent (NE). This of defining the type and size of zone
effectively means that the extent (or for each specified release.
size) of the zone is set to be zero.
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• HSE DSEAR Approved calculations of Vz several orders of The concept of a Zone of negligible
Code of Practice (ACOP) and magnitude larger than through using extent is not used in EI15 and the
Guidance (L138) well-established gas jet models, least onerous classification that can be
including Computational Fluid Dynamics obtained is a Zone 2 of ‘less than 1 m’.
This publication provides advice on and Quadvent (see Worked Example 1).
how to comply with the law, but The overall approach of linking the zone
does not specify how to classify classification to the size of Vz is sound • Institute of Gas Engineers
and calculate the size of zones. The and some validation of the approach has and Managers Hazardous Area
legislation and guidance are not been published in the HSE Reasearch Classification of Natural Gas
prescriptive and dutyholders can Report RR630. Installations (IGEM SR25), 2nd
use any appropriate methodology
in the hazardous area classification The 2015 version of the standard,
exercise. This paper describes the use which was voted against by the UK, This standard is used for classifying
of the HSE system Quadvent but other uses a completely new graphical natural gas installations operating at
systems and software are available. method to assess the degree of dilution pressures up to 100 bar. The standard
and hazardous distance. The UK has contains a detailed and somewhat
concerns with some of the methodologies complex methodology to assess
• BS EN 60079-10-1 in this standard and these are raised in ventilation rates taking into account
Classification of Areas – the UK national foreword. In particular factors such as the number of release
Explosive Gas Atmospheres there are concerns that the methodology sources, the failure frequency of
can produce non-conservative (i.e. components and inspection intervals.
The 2003 version of this standard potentially unsafe) results in some
introduced the concept of the circumstances and at times contradicts The available guidance above tends
hypothetical gas cloud volume, Vz, which advice contained in other standards, to provide simplified methods, e.g.
is defined as ‘a hypothetical gas cloud such as those described below. Work by means of look-up tables or simple
with an average concentration equal to carried out by HSE supports this position. calculation methods for specific types of
half the lower flammable limit (LFL)’.
release, that are generally conservative
This gas cloud volume can be used to
(excepting 60079-10-1:2015 in some
judge the degree of dilution and whether • Energy Institute Model cases). This approach makes the HAC
a release is of negligible extent (NE): Code of Safe Practice Part relatively quick but the associated
15: Area Classification for generality can, in some cases, lead to
JJ I f the value of Vz is less than 0.1 m3 Installations Handling excessive conservatism.
then the zoned area is considered
Flammable Liquids (EI15), 4th
to be of negligible extent and
protective equipment is not required
This is a standard aimed at the
petroleum industries and as such is
JJ F or secondary releases indoors,
typically concerned with high hazard
Zone 2 is applicable if Vz is less
sites dealing with large quantities of
than the volume of the enclosure,
flammable liquids and high pressure
but larger than 0.1 m3.
gases. It uses both direct examples
However, the methodology used to for common facilities and a risk based
calculate Vz in the 2003 and 2009 approach.
versions of the standard was very
conservative and could lead to
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Quadvent: a scientific approach to Hazardous

Area Classification
Challenges with HAC Quadvent is based on well-established JJ Quadvent can be used for both
modelling methodologies based on indoor and outdoor releases.
methodologies One of its distinguishing features
research carried out over very many
HSE has played a leading role within years studying major accident hazards. is the ability of the models to
the UK on the development of scientific The derivation of the gas jet model account for the effect of the
approaches to area classification over and its validation has been published build-up of flammable gas
the last ten or so years. The work within an enclosure on the gas
in a peer reviewed journal (Webber et
started through a joint industry project cloud volume. This feature is not
al, 2011). Three further papers will
generally included in even the most
led by HSE’s Buxton laboratory that shortly be submitted to peer-reviewed
sophisticated consequence models.
was funded by HSE and industry. The journals describing the three models in The software also provides a very
aim of this work was to develop a Quadvent 2 including their validation useful feature which allows the user
more scientifically based approach to against experimental data. The aim to estimate natural ventilation rates
area classification, which in the past of the models is to provide realistic based on the size and position of
had been frequently based on rules estimates of the gas cloud volume Vz openings in an enclosure.
of thumb or engineering judgement. and zone extent, while not being overly
The work was published by HSE in conservative. JJ The outputs of Quadvent are
Research Report RR630 (2008).
tailored for use in a HAC
assessment. Three measures of
The output of this work was used Features of Quadvent the ‘flammable gas cloud volume’
as the basis for changes to the key are provided. These include the
industry area classification codes EI15
JJ Quadvent is very easy to use
volume of gas above the lower
4th Edition (2015) and IGEM/SR/25 and the calculations can be
flammable limit and the volume of
performed quickly by inputting
Edition 2 (2010). gas above half the lower flammable
the parameters of the release and
limit. More significantly though
the environment into the graphical
it provides an estimate of the
interface as shown in the worked
gas cloud volume Vz which can
The Development of examples below.
then be used to determine which
Quadvent zone should be applied based on
Initially Quadvent was developed as
JJ ny hole size can be used
A the approach in BS EN 60079-
a very simple model that could be to calculate the hazardous 10-1:2009. Although this version
area in Quadvent. Different of the standard has now been
expressed as a single equation for
industry standards have different superseded, HSE Research Report
estimating the gas cloud volume Vz for
approaches for specifying RR630 showed that the general
pressurised gas releases. More details
hole sizes for secondary grade approach of using Vz to determine
can be found in the papers by Webber releases ranging from small hole the zone is valid, as long as an
et al (2011) and Santon et al (2012). sizes used by the gas industry appropriate method, eg Quadvent,
This was then built into software to (IGEM/SR/25) to much larger ones is used to calculate Vz.
make it easy to use as part of an area used in the petroleum industry
classification exercise. The latest (EI15). Users of Quadvent can
version of this software, Quadvent use the hole sizes that are most
2, adds functionality to also calculate appropriate for their particular
hazardous areas from releases of application.
pressure liquefied gases, such as LPG,
and buoyant plumes.
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JJ uadvent also provides the

calculated distances from the
release point to the point where the
gas concentration has reduced to
the lower flammable limit and half
the lower flammable limit. These
values can be used to specify the
size of a zone.

Quadvent software overview

Feature Benefit

Quick and easy-to-use Saves you time

Produces realistic Vz estimates Saves you money, for example, the capital and maintenance
costs of unnecessarily protecting electrical and non-electrical
equipment for use in hazardous areas

Uniquely calculates Vz both for ventilated Saves you time and money – one software tool can be used for
enclosed areas and for outdoors a variety of areas

Rigorously tested and validated Provides you with assurance and peace of mind: you can trust
the output of the tool

Provides realistic estimates of the Saves you time and money by providing comprehensive
natural ventilation rate of a building and information in one software tool
covers a variety of gas and liquid release
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Worked examples
The following examples demonstrate the difference that using Quadvent can make.

Worked Example 1:
Outdoor natural gas
In this first simple example we
consider some outdoor natural gas Vz (m3) Zone
pipework operating at a pressure of
10 bar gauge. We can use a typical BS EN 60079-10-1:2009 93.9 Zone 2
hole size for a secondary release
from a flange or joint of 0.25 mm2 Quadvent 0.002 Zone 2 NE
(BS EN 60079-10-1:2015). The table
shows the estimates of Vz using both
Quadvent 2 and the old (2009) version
of BS EN 60079-10-1. The results
highlight the over-conservatism in
the Vz equations in the old standard
as discussed above. For Vz < 0.1 m3
this would indicate that a Zone of
negligible extent could be applied.

Worked Example 2:
Ammonia release in
a room with forced
In this example we consider a release of
ammonia liquefied under pressure from
a refrigeration system. The enclosure
containing the refrigeration system is
force ventilated with 5 air changes per
hour. Figure 1 shows the Quadvent 2
output where the ‘Choked two-phase
flow model’ has been used to calculate
Vz. As Vz is smaller than 0.1 m3 and the
volume of the enclosure is greater than
10m3, a hazardous area classification of
Zone 2 NE could be applied in this case. Figure 1: Calculation of the hazardous volume, Vz, from Quadvent 2 for an indoor
release of pressure liquefied ammonia. The inset window shows the dialogue box for
inputting or adjusting the details of the source of the release
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Worked Example 3:
Hydrogen pipework
This example has hydrogen pipework
at 5 bar gauge in a naturally ventilated
enclosure. Secondary sources of
release (such as flanges and valves)
are considered. Two Quadvent 2
calculations have been carried out
using a hole size of 0.25 mm2 (no
adverse conditions) and 2.5 mm2
(adverse conditions).

The natural ventilation rate was

calculated in Quadvent 2 using the
natural ventilation model (see Figure
2). This resulted in a Zone 2 NE: Vz is
smaller than 0.1 m3 and the volume
Figure 2: Calculation of the hazardous volume, Vz, using Quadvent 2 for an indoor
of the enclosure is greater than 10
hydrogen release at 5 bar gauge. The inset window shows the dialogue boxes for
m3. Quadvent 2 also displays the
calculating the ventilation rate for a naturally ventilated enclosure.
background concentration (as a
fraction of LFL) in the output window,
in this case it is 1 % LFL. Figure 3
shows the effect of changing the hole
size to 2.5 mm2 to represent adverse
conditions within the same enclosure.
In this case Vz is greater than 0.1
m3 and therefore a standard Zone 2
should be applied.

Figure 3: Calculation of the hazardous volume, Vz, using Quadvent 2 for an indoor
hydrogen release at 5 bar gauge. The inset window shows the dialogue box for
changing the hole size for a releases under adverse conditions.
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Hazardous Area Classification training and advice

HSE’s Buxton Laboratory provides References and further 7. Webber D.M., Ivings M.J. and
regular training courses on DSEAR Santon R.C., Ventilation Theory
reading and Dispersion Modelling Applied
and Hazardous Area Classification,
including the use of Quadvent. We to Hazardous Area Classification.
1. BS EN 60079-10-1:2015 Explosive
can also deliver bespoke training Journal of Loss Prevention in the
atmospheres — Part 10-1:
relating to DSEAR, Hazardous Area Process Industries 24, 612, 2011
Classification of areas — Explosive
Classification and associated matters gas atmospheres
at your organisation.
2. Dangerous substances and
With a wealth of knowledge in explosive atmospheres. Dangerous
area classification and the DSEAR Substances and Explosive
Atmospheres Regulations 2002.
regulations, HSE scientists are also
Approved Code of Practice and
well placed to be able to advise you
guidance. L138 2013, HSE Books
on your area classification and DSEAR
assessment needs. HSE scientists 3. EI 15, Model code of safe practice
provide consultancy services to help part 15, Area classification for
ensure DSEAR assessments and installations handling flammable
hazardous area classification are fluids, 4th edition, Energy Institute
robust and correctly carried out. As (2015)
our scientists provide technical advice 4. IGEM/SR/25, Hazardous area
and support for HSE inspectors, work classification of natural gas
with relevant industry bodies at a installations, Edition 2, Institution
national level, and investigate when of Gas Engineers and Managers
things go wrong, they are uniquely (2010)
placed to provide you with relevant 5. Ivings M.J., Clarke S., Gant S.E.,
and pragmatic support. Fletcher B., Heather A., Pocock
D.J., Pritchard D.K., Santon R.
Visit our Risk Management pages and Saunders C.J., 2008, ‘Area
( Classification for secondary
risk-management-and-process-safety) releases from low pressure natural
to see how we can help you, or contact gas systems’ Health and Safety
us on: Executive Research Report RR630
Disclaimer rrhtm/rr630.htm
6. Santon R., Ivings M.J., Webber
This paper and the work it describes D.M and Kelsey A., New Methods
were funded by the Health and Safety for Hazardous Area Classification
Executive (HSE). Its contents, including for explosive gas atmospheres,
any opinions and/or conclusions Hazards XXIII, 12-15 Nov 2012
expressed, are those of the authors
alone and do not necessarily reflect media/Documents/Subject%20
HSE policy.