Flange guards help to prevent or reduce the extent of flammable mists but there is limited information available on their use and applicability, especially for managing hazardous area zoning and zone classification.

There is also limited evidence of their functionality i.e. testing to ensure that they perform sufficiently. The impact of flange guards on hazardous zoning requirements is also unclear within industry guidance, nor is there an internationally recognised standard for such equipment.

There has been some attempt to develop guidance on the use of flange guards, however at present there is a lack of international recognition. Evidence points to flange guards becoming more prevalent in the future, and certainly, under the right specification, a useful measure for controlling flammable mists. But before hazardous area zones can be managed and classified differently on the basis of flange guard installation, time needs to be spent developing a suitable standard and more guidance on their applicability and functionality needs to be available. Until then, using flange guards to remove hazardous zones should be treated with caution and robust management systems should be in place to identify where their installation is appropriate onsite.

James Park

James Park is a Process Safety Consultant at RAS Ltd. He studied for his BSC and Master’s degrees at the University of Liverpool before joining RAS Ltd in 2014. While working at RAS Ltd James has developed an interest in the DSEAR regulations and is experienced in the classification of hazardous areas and demonstrating compliance for a variety of facilities across the UK.