Safety Lamp

- Aug 02, 2019-

Back in the day, coal miners started calling lanterns with an enclosed flame “safety lamps.” Open flames in coal mines were a big problem, regularly causing deadly explosions. Attempts to help mitigate explosion risks stretch all the way back to the 1700s.

One of the more successful early types of safety lamps is the Davy lamp, invented by Humphry Davy in the early 19th century. In these lamps, the open flame is surrounded by mesh material that can, at least temporarily, prevent the flame from extending too far or getting hot enough to ignite flammable gases in the surrounding atmosphere.

Nowadays we would call these Ex luminaires for mining operations, but the term ‘safety lamp’ is still quite common and widely understood in the mining industry and other hazardous areas.

This is a common term used to refer to many different types of lights, from a yellow light on a traffic barrier to a red light on the back of a bicycle. Unfortunately, the term is sometimes also incorrectly used to denote Ex luminaires. In the Ex world, we prefer to emphasize the fact that safety is always more than just a single piece of equipment. People, products and places together make (or break) safety.


Short for Underwriters Laboratories. UL are the leading authorities in the United States certifying product compliance with quality, safety and other standards. This includes all Ex-related certifications. Products that have passed the rigorous certification tests get a unique certificate number and permission to use the “UL” label on product.


See also UL. The UL listing is a collection of products that UL, a widely respected certification body, has tested and certified. UL actively maintains this list, meaning it audits products it has already certified and may remove them if the product manufacturer fails the audit.