What Is the Best Protection Against Accidental Explosions?

November 07, 2022

Non-sparking tools also produce sparks, sometimes called "cold sparks". These cold sparks have low heat and do not ignite carbon disulphide, which has the lowest ignition point of any substance known to man. Therefore, while "non-sparking" tools may reduce the risk of sparking, they do not eliminate the possibility of sparking. The name "non-sparking" is misleading because these tools are capable of producing sparks: the term "spark-reducing tools" better describes these tools.


Non-metals such as wood, leather and plastic are suitable for tools such as shovels, scrapers or spatulas and do not pose a frictional spark hazard.


Non-sparking tools prevent fires and explosions in environments where there is concern about sparks igniting flammable solvents, vapours, liquids, dust or residues.


Non Sparking Case Opener

Non Sparking Case Opener

Note: It is important to carefully assess each situation and use the appropriate tool for the hazard present. In some cases, "non-sparking" tools may still be able to produce sparks. Contact the tool manufacturer and the manufacturer of the flammable material (for example) for advice and further information.


Note: It is also important to consider the metals used in the tools themselves. For example, beryllium has been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer. Although the likelihood of exposure to beryllium dust is very low when non-sparking tools are generally used, the grinding or polishing tool itself may need to be considered.

Three main standards have been defined globally for testing and determining whether an alloy can be classified as non-sparking. The first is the Indian Standard, IS 4595-1969 (2006), which was established on 29 January 1969 and later reconfirmed in 2006. The second is FM Approval (USA), i.e. FM 7190. The third is BAM certification by a German body. All three standards primarily check the spark generation capability of the material/alloy. Certification to any one or more of these standards should be acceptable.


T Type Wrench

 T Type Wrench

What kind of tools should I use when working with flammable gases or explosive chemicals?

Hand tools made of iron or steel can generate sparks and should not be used. Only use alloys with certified or tested non-sparking properties. Common hand tools such as spanners, spanners, screwdrivers, hammers, percussion spanners etc. should be used depending on the torque range and type of nuts, bolts etc.. If standard tools are not up to the job, you can get customised non-sparking hand tools designed and manufactured to suit your needs. Never use manufactured or "jugaad" tools when working with flammable gases or explosives, as safety is paramount.

The main factor contributing to the non-sparking nature of metals is the fundamental properties of copper. Copper has excellent thermal and electrical properties and can therefore transfer heat very quickly. When a friction spark occurs between copper and a hard surface, the energy generated at the point of friction is quickly absorbed by the copper and only a cold spark is produced - thus making the alloy non-sparking. Alloying elements such as titanium and beryllium are added to strengthen the copper.  

200 Non Sparking Shovel

 200 Non-Sparking Shovel


What is the best protection against accidental explosions?

Follow safe working procedures. Always assess the work to be done in any hazardous environment. Use appropriate tools and equipment to eliminate ignition, such as motors that can be certified as "explosion-proof" for use in most hazardous workplaces, or use non-sparking tools that are properly used and maintained. Remember, there is no such thing as a truly spark-free tool. In any work where flames are used or sparks are generated, ensure that an explosive atmosphere is not created. 

Such an atmosphere includes flammable vapour-air mixtures and organic dust clouds, such as flour or coal dust. Isolation, ventilation and decontamination are the methods used to ensure a safe working environment. Explosion meters are used in the workplace to protect people working in hazardous environments.

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