ALERT Learn More | NASP Certification Program: The Path to Success Has Many Routes. Choose Yours

Ex Rated

Last updated: May 11, 2017

What Does Ex Rated Mean?

Ex rated equipment refers to equipment that has been classified as safe for use in hazardous areas, which are often referred to as “Ex areas.”

Non-Ex equipment may emit small sparks or reach high temperatures that can ignite in hazardous areas, causing explosions or fires. Ex equipment is designed to contain any sparks, flames, or explosions that may be produced by equipment—or to prevent their production altogether.

Ex areas and equipment must be classified according to legal requirements that vary by jurisdiction. Certification of Ex areas and equipment is conducted by national government agencies or recognized independent agencies.

Occupational health and safety requirements mandate the use of specific ratings of Ex equipment depending on the classification applied to a particular Ex area.

Safeopedia Explains Ex Rated

Ex areas in the workplace are locations where there is a risk of fire or explosion due to the presence of ignitable substances in the air. These substances include gases, vapors, dusts, and fibers that are present in the air at high-enough concentrations to produce an ignitable mixture.

The Ex equipment required for use within a given Ex area is dependent on that area’s hazard classification. Ex areas, such as chemical refineries, are given different classifications (called "area classifications") according to the type and level of risk posed by the substances present in the air. Ex equipment certified for use in a hazardous area must contain labeling that clearly displays its Ex rating.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) provides a non-mandatory international standard (IEC 60079) for the classification of both Ex areas and Ex equipment, as well as a standardized labeling system. The IEC standard is a UN-endorsed standard used to provide a common point of reference for understanding the variety of different Ex rating standards that are used around the world. One such classification standard is the European Union’s ATEX directive (2014/34/eu), which prescribes standards for Ex equipment, areas, and labeling requirements within the EU.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


Safety EquipmentEHS Programs

Trending Articles

Go back to top