The improvements made in the LED technology have allowed certain industries to improve safety and security in hazardous environments while improving the quality of light and reducing costs. As with any kind of environment, lighting is an important element, but there are certain areas that due to the presence of explosive gases or fine powders that are produced, processed or stored the possibility of and explosion is higher. These areas are designated as hazardous locations and differently to traditional lighting their systems must adhere to safety requirements not only for fixtures but also for electrical products. For instance, the classification used in the United States (UL) for the dangerous environments categorizes them according to the presence of flammable gasses: Class 1 for vapors or liquids; Class 2 for combustible dusts, and Class 3 ignitable fibers. Subsequently, those environments are divided into atmospheres where the gases are abnormally present (Division 2) and environments where those explosive gases are normally present (Division 1).
The hazardous locations lightning include, oil refineries, chemical plants, food processing plants, warehouse facilities, streetlights, and other outdoor facilities. Traditional light sources such as incandescent that are manufactured to comply with safety requirements for hazardous locations are expensive, they require a larger amount of fluorescent lights, and more than anything they have a shorter lifetime. Differently, a LED fixture is resistant to the exposure in hazardous environments and it will not only provide reliability, and greater efficiency but it will also last for a longer period of time. The lightning systems used in mining, for instance, have to be adequate for these working areas (comply with minimum levels of reflected light); they also have to meet the standards for explosion proof enclosures. In this way, the lightning systems can improve the conditions for the workers, reduce the risk of injury and assure the safety of the environment. A long lasting luminaire is particularly important in some of the locations; another example is in power plants where due to the radiation exposure and the working requisites, replacement and maintenance is crucial and can result in higher costs. For these reasons, efficient and reliable lights are mandatory for the security and also for the challenges of maintenance and replacement that arise in some of these locations.