Nothing should be left to chance if you’re working with hazardous materials and environments. This safety-first approach should extend to your equipment, including your choice of headlamp.
A headlamp designed for such environments - both for functionality and safety - is not a “nice to have.” It is absolutely essential and can be the difference between a successful project and a terrible accident.
An unsuitable headlamp in the wrong environment can cause injuries and damage to equipment. That’s why you should carefully check whether your choice of headlamp is safely suited to the spaces that they’ll be deployed in.
Let’s look at our recommendations for headlamps suited to hazardous environments and then at the features you should be aware of when choosing your headlamp.
Headlamp buyers guide
Types of hazardous environments
If you’re working in an environment with combustible raw products or by-products, it’s essential to check whether the headlamp’s safety rating matches your workspace. For the wide variety of industries and work environments, the National Electric Code has classified hazardous environments into three broad classes:
Class I - where flammable gases, liquids or vapors are present in the work environment, like refineries, gasoline storage or any space that uses flammable liquids in operations processes.
Class II - is an environment where combustible dusts are present, like in coal prep plants or any other carbon-handling areas, like plants that produce plastics, fireworks or medicines.
Class III - is a space that has ignitable fibers or flyings, such as a textile mill or a flax processing plant.
These are volatile environments where even the tiniest lapse in equipment safety standards can cause a catastrophe.
Be sure only to use headlamps that meet the safety specifications of the work environment of your project.
Intrinsically Safe Headlamps
If this is the terrain on which you operate, then intrinsically safe headlamps are a must for your workforce. But what does “intrinsically safe” mean?
Intrinsic safety is the protection technique used to ensure that your headlamp cannot ignite in hazardous areas. Intrinsic safety limits the electrical and thermal energy that could cause explosive combustion or ignition in the surrounding environment. In effect, it insulates the device from errant sparking, leaking of gases, or high temperatures to protect it from a volatile outer environment.
Low-energy circuitry is the primary technique used to make devices intrinsically safe. This includes low outputs for power, voltage, temperature, and current. So low that ignition becomes impossible.
What is “explosion-proof”?
Another protection method qualifies as intrinsically safe - "explosion-proof”.
An explosion-proof product is simply a type of "intrinsically safe" product, where the apparatus is held within an enclosure that, if an explosion occurs, is contained and unable to ignite the environment. The enclosure’s integrity must be carefully and repeatedly analyzed as even a small defect could compromise safety.
Strictly speaking, intrinsically safe means that the outputs of the power, voltage and temperature are kept low enough to prevent ignition. In contrast “explosion-proof” means that any such explosion within the device is sealed within a containment field.
What’s the right headlamp for a hazardous work environment?
The VIZION 1 Headlamp is Class 1 Division 1 rated - the highest level of intrinsic safety. It is also exceptionally user-friendly, even when wearing heavy gloves. VIZION Headlamps are lightweight but exceedingly robust - dare we say, almost unbreakable. The barrel form design removes the need if a hinge, which is a common point of failure for other headlamps.
The headlamp is waterproof - even when submerged - and operates in full brightness, even in freezing conditions. The LED light fixture can be removed from its housing to provide a camp light experience.
Is the headlamp rated intrinsically safe?
Check with the manufacturer whether any prospective headlamp that you’re thinking of buying is intrinsically safe or explosion-proof. The device will also carry the safety certification on it.
Does it match up with the type of hazardous environment?
As above, if your environment is rated Class I (for example), the headlamp’s safety rating should match it.
Does the headlamp match up with the hazardous materials present on your site?
To choose the right headlamp for the hazardous environment that you operate in, check whether the materials you’re working with are accounted for on the groups’ list.
Hazardous materials are divided into GROUPS as per representative material. A headlamp rated as “GROUP A - G” would be safe to expose to all of the materials. The list below outlines some of the materials in each group. (Note that this is NOT an exhaustive list of ALL materials per group).
Group A Acetylene
Group B Hydrogen
Group C Ethylene
Group D Propane, gasoline, methane
Group E Metals including aluminum, magnesium (Div. 1 only)
Group F Carbonaceous dusts including coal, coke
Group G Dusts that are not included in E and F such as wood, plastics, flour or grain dusts.
Final Thoughts on hazardous work headlamps
There can be no compromising on safety equipment when it comes to hazardous working environments. Your workers’ lives, the project’s success, and your business’s reputation rely on safety.
Choose appropriately designed and manufactured safety headlamps to help your team focus on the work at hand and ultimately achieve your business goals.
If you have any questions about safety lighting, our experienced team is happy to assist.