Guidelines for determining hazardous area classifications

Information Bulletin

Information Bulletin: Guidelines for determining hazardous area classifications

October 5, 2022

Information Bulletin

Reference Number:

IB-EL 2016-01

Revision Number:

Revision 2

This bulletin provides guidance on the application of electrical codes and the documentation requirements for installation of electrical equipment in facilities where hazardous concentrations of gas, vapours, or dust may be encountered. For reference, see sections 18, 20, and Appendix L of the BC Electrical Code.

Installations in hazardous areas

This bulletin informs owners, holders of operating permits, designers, operators, and installers of electrical equipment of the requirements for electrical equipment in hazardous areas, as referenced in the BC Electrical Code. 

Electrical contractors are required to familiarize themselves with these rules and requirements when engaging in installations which may be classified as hazardous.

Appendix L in the 2021 BC Electrical Code outlines engineering guidelines for determining hazardous area locations. This appendix provides guidance in the determination of hazardous areas in facilities where explosive atmospheres can occur. Examples of facilities where explosive gas atmospheres can exist include the natural gas and related hydrocarbon industries, refineries, distilleries, spray booths, and similar locations. Explosive dust atmospheres can exist in food, plastics, lumber and wood processing facilities, rubber, furniture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and dye industries.

Authorities having jurisdiction may require designs and specifications be signed by recognized professionals before authorizing the issuance of a permit or allowing electrical work to proceed. In addition to code compliant installations, owners and their representatives are responsible to ensure comprehensive procedures and safety plans are in place to provide effective responses to foreseeable hazards.

Provincial Safety Manager 


Safety Standards Act
Electrical Safety Regulation
Safety Standards General Regulation

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