March/April 2012

Mining, fiber optics big items for electrical safety committee

By Ellen Fussell Policastro

ISA12, Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Locations, is involved in key standards that relate to the petrochemical and mining industries, and has excellent, open participation, and synergy among the group, said Evans Massey, manager, Standards and Certification, Baldor Electric Company in Greenville, S.C., and chair of the ISA12 National Electrical Code (NEC) Working Group (WG). The NEC working group is just one of several groups that met as part of the ISA12 committee in mid-March in Orlando, Fla.

ISA is represented on the NFPA 70 Code Panel, making Panel 14 responsible for hazardous locations. "We are presently in the 2014 code cycle and preparing to review the Panel Actions on proposals, preparing comments for the report-on-comments (ROC) stage," said committee member Bill Lawrence. ISA submitted over 30 proposals on topics ranging from simple standards version updates, to introduction of new concepts, such as Optical Radiation.

The NEC WG members will develop comments to the ROC during this meeting prior to the fall ISA12 2012 meeting, as the deadline for submission to the NEC is 17 October, and ISA12 will meet the week of 22 October.

The majority of the 35 ISA proposals submitted on 1 November 2011, were accepted, or accepted in principle/part. These submissions follow up on the successful acceptance of ISA proposals to the 2008 and 2011 NEC.

For Massey and his group, the week included attending SC31M TAG, the U.S. National Committee meeting forIEC SC31M, the group responsible for mechanical requirements and quality systems for internationally certified product. "This is a group somewhat separate from ISA, but ISA is our TAG Secretary, and many of our ISA standards participants also participate at an international IEC level," Massey said. Roy Teather, an Engineer at Det Norske Veritas, is the U.S. Technical Advisor for the SC31M TAG.

Need more fiber

Paul Kelly of UL LLC and chair of the subcommittee ISA12.21, Optically Radiating Equipment and Fiber Optics in Hazardous Locations, will review comments with subcommittee members on ISA-60079-28 (12.21.02), Explosive Atmospheres - Part 28: Protection of equipment and transmission systems using optical radiation.

"The primary objective is to progress the development of a U.S. American National Standard based on the IEC standard for Explosive atmospheres - Part 28: Protection of equipment and transmission systems using optical radiation, IEC 60079-28," Kelly said. The scope of the draft ANSI/ISA-60079-28 (12.21.02) standards effort underway right now covers the potential ignition hazard from equipment using optical radiation intended for use in Zone classified explosive gas atmospheres. It also covers equipment which itself is located outside these explosive atmospheres, but with emitted optical radiation that enters such atmospheres. It describes precautions and requirements to be taken when using optical radiation transmitting equipment in Zone classified explosive gas atmospheres. It further outlines a test method, which can be used to verify that a beam is not ignition capable under selected test conditions if the optical limit values cannot be guaranteed by assessment or beam strength measurement. Kelly expects ANSI/ISA-60079-28 (12.21.02) to reach publication by fall of 2012.

In addition, the ISA12.21 subcommittee is responsible for maintaining the ANSI/ISA-TR12.21.01-2004 for the Use of Fiber Optic Systems in Class I Hazardous (Classified) Locations. International responsibilities include nominating U.S. experts to the IEC/TC31 maintenance team for IEC 60079-28, with these experts providing technical support in the development of the next edition of this IEC standard.

Other meetings held during the week included subcommittees: ISA12.12, which is responsible for developing the U.S. requirements for Zone 2 and Division 2 applications; ISA12.4, Instrument Purging for Reduction of Hazardous Area Classification; and the Mining Working Group. The Mining Working Group, chaired by Tom Dubaniewicz of NIOSH, is dedicated to developing U.S. mining requirements based on international standards, for future consideration as U.S. Consensus standards by the U.S. Government, Mine Health, and Safety Administration. Additional meetings included: TC31 US TAG, which is a meeting of the U.S. National Committee for this series of international standards; and ISA12.24, working on Zone Classification, Installation, Maintenance and Repair.


Ellen Fussell Policastro ( is an ISA Standards administrator. E-mail her for more information.