How Do I Use Non-sparking Tools?

September 19, 2022

Every professional working in the oil and gas sector knows the importance of having specific hand tools that minimize the risk of accidents in the workplace. Worker safety is a top concern in every industry, which is why they choose tools that are fire-resistant and help avoid situations such as fires and explosions.

Investing in non-sparking tools is probably the best approach when it comes to ensuring safety in the workplace. There is a range of non-sparking tools on the market to make it easier for you to find the best tool for your ATEX zone. These tools are known for their best use in industries such as coal mines, refineries, offshore oil rigs, and more.

Now, you must be a little curious to know what makes these tools so special and what they are made of to eliminate sparks and ensure safety in the workplace. But before we get into that section, let's first shed some light on a brief description of non-sparking insulated tools.

T Type Wrench

 T Type Wrench

What are non-sparking tools?

Non-sparking tools, also popularly known as “spark reduced,” “spark-resistant,” or “spark-proof,” are used in working environments that contain flammable gases, vapors, dust, residues, and fluids. They prevent the occurrence of sparks, thus eliminating the risk of fire and explosions. 

They prevent sparks from occurring and thus eliminate the risk of fire and explosion. So far, you have a clear understanding of what spark-free tools are and why it is important for professionals to use them. Now let's move on to the components of these tools.

Non Sparking Hinged Handle

 Non Sparking Hinged Handle 

What are non-sparking insulated tools made of?

Safety tools are made from non-ferrous metals (metals that do not contain iron) such as bronze, brass, copper-nickel alloys, or copper-aluminium alloys to reduce the risk of the tool sparking when in use. These tools are even made from non-metals such as wood, leather and plastics with fire-resistant flowers.

These tools are appreciated in the industrial sector because they prevent fires and explosions in environments that may contain flammable vapours, dust, residues or vapours. Non-sparking tools are preferable when working in confined spaces and in areas where flammable dusts, gases or liquids are present.

Because these tools are made of non-ferrous metals, they are softer than standard tools made of high strength alloy steel. They also have a lower tensile strength and resistance, which makes them wear out more quickly. However, they have an advantage that other types of tools cannot offer, and that is that the cold sparks they produce have a relatively low heat level and are not sufficient to ignite anything.

194 Beryllium Bronze Pick Railroad With Wooden Handle

194 Beryllium Bronze Pick Railroad With Wooden Handle

The following is a brief description of tools made from different materials.

Plastic: These tools are essential for professionals working in ATEX (atmospheric explosives) environments as they are non-magnetic and do not produce sparks.

Aluminium-copper: tools made from aluminum-copper alloys are lighter in weight than the heavier copper-based alloys. They offer excellent durability and are reliable.

Beryllium copper: tools made from this alloy are the strongest and hardest, with tensile strengths between 1280 and 1480 MPa. These tools are ideal for heavy duty tasks.

Brass: These tools are a bit pricey, but worth every penny. They are known for their durability and have an aesthetic lustre. 

Bronze: Although these tools are electrically conductive, they do not produce sparks. They can be a great addition to your toolkit and help you get the job done with ease.

Explosion-proof Durable Hand Tools Aluminum Bronze Edging Spade

Explosion-proof Durable Hand Tools Aluminum Bronze Edging Spade

How do I use non-sparking tools?

An important piece of advice: clean all non-sparking tools thoroughly after use and make sure they are free from any iron contaminants or rust, which can destroy the non-sparking properties of the tools. 

Also remember not to use tools in direct contact with acetylene, mainly in the presence of moisture, as this can lead to the production of highly dangerous explosive acetal. 

In addition, do not forget to sharpen all sparkling tools regularly following safety procedures (e.g. protection of the face and eyes and the use of appropriate tools to collect the powder). 

Finally, you must ventilate the premises to remove potentially harmful powders and vapours from the atmosphere.

These are some simple rules you can follow to ensure the long-lasting functionality of your tools and to minimise possible hazards in the workplace.

Non sparking Pipe Wrench

 Nonsparking Pipe Wrench

Does the maintenance and storage of non-sparking tools require special attention?

Consider the following recommendations. 

- Choose the right size for the right task to prevent the tool from falling off.

- Avoid contact with corrosive products, such as iron or other contaminants that may affect the non-sparking characteristics. 

- Clean non-sparking tools after use to avoid deterioration.

- Never use non-sparking tools in an environment where acetylene is present as it can cause explosive acetylene compounds.

Non-sparking tools that may wear out, such as hammers or striking wrenches, should be checked frequently.

Final thoughts

Non-sparking insulated tools have unique characteristics that make them suitable for use in environments containing flammable substances. They make the work of professionals working in industries such as refineries and coal mines easier by helping them to work safely. 

If the tools are cleaned properly and kept free of contamination, they will have a long service life, but again this will reduce their spark-free capability. Spark-free tools are the tools of choice for improving safety in industrial working environments.