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CSA Class 1: What It Means and Why You Should Care

We touched on this briefly a few weeks ago when we introduced hazardous locations. You may want to give that post a read as a refresher. Today, we’ll decode the CSA Class 1 certifications.

What is CSA?

Class 1 hazardous locations are all about flammable vaporsCSA stands for the Canadian Standards Association, but don’t let the name fool you. The organization, CSA International, is recognized throughout North America and Europe. Like other certification companies, they test product – both consumer and business – to see how it responds to certain situations and types of wear.

Specifically, we’ll be discussing hazardous location certifications. CSA uses the same classification of hazardous locations set forth by the NEC, which breaks hazardous locations into classes and divisions. CSA also accounts for the European zones, which are equivalent to divisions. For example, in North America, you may see Class 1, Division 1, while in Europe you would see Class 1, Zone 1.

What are Classes?

There are three hazardous location classes – respectively Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. They simply refer to the type of hazard in general terms:

  • Class 1 – the hazard is a flammable vapor
  • Class 2 – the hazard is a flammable dust
  • Class 3 – the hazard is a flammable fiber, or other “flyings”

What are Divisions and Zones?

Divisions and zones simply refer to the constancy and/or level of the hazard. There are two divisions and three zones:

  • Division 1 or Zone 0 – the hazard is continuous
  • Division 1 or Zone 1 – the hazard is intermittent
  • Division 2 or Zone 2 – the hazard is present only under abnormal conditions

You may have noticed that Divisions treat intermittent and continuous hazards the same, while Zones differentiate them. This is effectively the only difference between the two.

The Class 1, Div 1 Certification

A sensor that is designed for environments, or locations, where flammable vapors are continuously present are designated with a CSA Class 1, Div 1 certification. Of course, this certification comes only after thorough and rigorous testing. This is something we do a lot of at APG.

It may be obvious, by now, that the designation is quite important. It is simply a matter of safety to use an appropriately marked sensor for a hazardous location. Failing to do so can result in a fatal disaster, severe damage to both facilities and resources, and bring about legal ramifications.

Check out our previous posts on hazardous location protection methods to brush up on intrinsic safety and explosion proof. Wiring is also an important part of the protection method. For intrinsically safe devices, the appropriate barrier or isolator is required for installation. For explosion proof, sealed conduit is used to insulate wiring from the hazard.

Let us know if you have any questions about CSA classification terminology for level and pressure sensors, or Class 1, Division 1 locations specifically. You can use the comments section below, our live chat, or the telephone at 888-525-7300.

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