Are you covered? What you need to know about hazardous area lighting

Occupational Health and Safety are paramount in Australian mining, especially when explosive, combustible, or dangerous materials are involved.

Different countries define their own standards and certifications for electrical equipment used in explosive environments. For example, while ATEX was previously recognised in Australia, an IECEx electrical certification is now required to meet Australian standards for explosive and combustible environments.

The IECEx certification reduces costs and streamlines certification for equipment used in hazardous-rated areas worldwide. While often used interchangeably with ATEX when discussing explosion-proof electrical equipment, it is important to know the difference.

What is an Ex area?

Ex areas, also known as ‘Explosive Atmospheres’, ‘Hazardous Locations’ or ‘Hazardous Areas’, relate to areas where flammable liquids, vapours, gases or combustible dust and fibres are likely to be present, in quantities sufficient to cause a fire or explosion.

 Explosion protection is essential to overall risk management for industrial sectors such as coal mining, oil, gas and chemical industries. The risks to the life and health of workers and the risk of loss of property when operating equipment in the presence of explosive atmospheres are high. This is why explosion-proof equipment that is Ex rated must be used.


What is the difference between IECEx and ATEX? 

  • ATEX certification only applies to countries in the EU, while IECEx certification is accepted globally
  • IECEx certification is more widely recognised and accepted compared to ATEX certification
  • Manufacturers are responsible for ATEX certification
  • External certification is required for IECEx increasing consistency across equipment internationally


What is IECEx? 

IECEx stands for International Electrotechnical Commission Explosive. It is a quality assessment specification based on standards provided by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

IECEx is an international certification accepted in Australia, Canada, Russia, China, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, South Africa and most European countries to maintain confidence in the safety of equipment used in explosive atmospheres. 

 Most recently, IECEx is the only accepted certification in Australia for electrical equipment used in potentially explosive environments. For more information relating to IECEx visit the IECEx website here.

What is ATEX? 

ATEX stands for “ATmosphères EXplosives” and is the certification for products sold in selected parts of Europe. It refers to two European Union directives for standardisation that covers equipment intended for use in potentially explosive environments.

ATEX certification only applies to European countries, while IECEx certification is accepted globally.

What IECEX lighting is available in Australia?

MineGlow is the only Australian company that offers IECEx-certified LED strip lighting solutions for hazardous areas. The range is purpose-built to operate safely in oil refineries, underground mining, petrochemical plants and other volatile industrial applications such as paint manufacturing and high dust zones.

Certified for gas zones one and two, and dust zones twenty-one and twenty-two, MineGlow’s IECEx LED strip lighting range isolates and contains sparks to prevent explosions from escaping and igniting gases, dust, fibres and particles in hazardous atmospheres.

It is vital to ensure your workplace and explosive environment are compliant with IECEx equipment and not the obsolete ATEX standards. To ensure you purchase from a safe and reputable Ex LED strip lighting provider, ask to see their IECEx Equipment Certificate of Conformity. 

To learn more about our IECEx certified range of LED strip lights contact us today.

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