How to Enable Real-Time Communication in Zone 1 Environments

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Zone 1 environments are typically explosive areas that pose dangers to occupants. In such environments, there is the presence of an explosive atmosphere that is intermittent in regular operation. In the oil and gas industry, an explosive environment is unavoidable in the workplace due to the continued presence of flammable gas, vapor, dust, and mist.  

Experts reveal standard electrical or electronic equipment such as light fittings, switches, and communication devices may cause sparking or generate static electricity built up on a person, item, or clothing that discharges a spark with potentially devastating results. This blog looks at how oil and gas companies enable real-time communication in zone one areas.

What are Zone 1 environments?

A Zone 1 environment is classified as an area with an explosive atmosphere comprising a mixture of air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapor, or mist. Oil and gas environments are naturally Zone 1 areas because they carry an explosive gas atmosphere that is likely to occur in regular operation. In such environments, suitable rated and protected operational and communication equipment must be used to eliminate the risk of a spark or other source of heat. Other industries that fall under zone one environment include:

  • Specialty chemical plants such as paper, cement, and plastic plants 
  • Mines

How to enable real-time communication in zone1 environment

In any work environment, communication is critical to ensure the continued smooth running of operations. However, standard workplace communication tools can pose hazards in potentially explosive environments. Oil and gas companies typically take employee safety very seriously. The industry has invested in innovative communication solutions to ensure the safest work environment possible. The following are some safe ways to enable real-time communication in zone one environments:

Use of intrinsically safe devices

Due to their potential for sparking or heat generation, hand-held communication devices used in zone one environments must be carefully selected to ensure they do not cause ignition. The industry leverages intrinsically safe communication devices like those offered by Aegex technology to enable safe and efficient workplace communication. Intrinsically safe equipment cannot trigger combustion or ignite any gasses or fuels. These devices can be used around gasses or fuels without risking heat discharge or static electricity from the device igniting surrounding volatile gases. Intrinsically safe communication equipment allows critical communication to be conducted in hazardous environments where using non-intrinsically safe radios would be hazardous.

Use of intrinsically safe portable radios to improve connectivity

A reliable connection in hazardous environments is integral to employees' overall safety. Without connectivity, they cannot seek help in emergencies or receive critical information like site-specific risks in their work areas. However, hazardous areas such as oil fields and mines after typically located in remote areas where cellular service is unreliable or patchy. A practical solution is using intrinsically safe radio devices that meet stringent international safety standards. These radios deliver reliable voice communications to ensure employees stay connected through packet data transference. 

Use of tough portable radios to withstand extreme conditions

Hazardous environments pose tough conditions that subject field workers and equipment to extreme heat, shocks, moisture, jolts, and ruggedness. Workers in zone one environments should be supplied with communication equipment that continues to function within these perilous environments. Oil and gas companies equip their workers with tough and rugged portable radios engineered for demanding environments. Such equipment can withstand extreme temperatures, shocks, drops, vibrations, and moisture.

Data encryption to guarantee the security of sensitive data

Oil and gas employees working in hazardous environments must transfer sensitive data to various places. Such information needs to stay safe as interception can put employees at risk or result in the theft of critical data by outside organizations and competitors. Communication devices in these environments support voice and data security features to guarantee privacy for workplace communication. Some devices incorporate features that allow network administrators to remotely disable radios when lost or stolen.

Aegex technology provides intrinsically safe communication devices

Aegex technology provides leading oil and gas companies with powerful communication solutions to implement safe and secure communication across their operations. The Aegex intrinsically safe tablets runs on Windows OS to allow remote monitoring of critical points in hazardous work processes. The tablets are designed to use in dangerous zones of explosive environments where traditional devices cannot be used.

Another revolutionary tool provided by Aegex is the NexVu IoT solution designed to track and detect leaks in hazardous environments and enable predictive maintenance. The tool is equipped with several features, including smart sensors, intrinsically safe radios, and powerful endpoints to provide accurate leak detections in oil and gas operations. Contact us today to learn more.