What does the term intrinsically safe mean?

Document ID

Document ID TE5044

Version

Version 2.0

Status

Status Published

Published Date

Published Date 27/05/2017
Question
What does the term intrinsically safe mean?
Summary
Intrinsically safe meaning.
Answer
Intrinsically safe is an attribute applied to electrical equipment that is designated for use in explosion-prone areas. In normal uses, electrical equipment often creates internal tiny sparks in switches, motor brushes, connectors, and in other places. Such sparks can ignite flammable substances present in air. A device termed intrinsically safe is designed to not contain any components that produce sparks or which can hold enough energy that could produce a spark.

For example during marine transfer operations when flammable products are transferred between the marine terminal and tanker ships or barges, two way radio communication needs to be constantly maintained in case the transfer needs to stop for unforeseen reasons such as a spill. The United States Coast Guard requires that the two way radio must be certified as intrinsically safe.