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Non-Electrical Equipment Ignition Risk Assessment (NEIRA)

Our NEIRA assessment includes:

  • Certifying non-electrical equipment used in hazardous areas using the template and structured process as defined in BS EN ISO 80079-36.
  • Providing a systematic review of potential ignition sources, the likelihood of them becoming an effective ignition source and what safeguards are present to prevent ignition sources from becoming effective
  • Outlining improvement to the safety systems for such equipment, e.g. maintenance procedures, temperatures monitoring, earthing, vibrational monitoring to name a few.
  • Most importantly saving client money as an alternative to expensive replacement with ATEX rated equipment  

What is a NEIRA assessment?

Non-electrical equipment is commonly used in the handling and processing of flammable liquids, gases and powders across the process industries.

As mechanical equipment can cause frictional heat or sparks during routine operations or equipment-upset conditions, it is necessary to identify and eliminate or control these specific ignition sources. The objective of the assessment known as a Non-Electrical Equipment Ignition Risk Assessment (NEIRA) is undertaken to complete this objective.

This equipment must be suitably ATEX certified, either by purchasing ATEX replacement equipment or as a much cheaper alternative, the existing equipment can be re-certified by conducting a NEIRA assessment. This assessment follows the guidelines set out in BS EN 80079-36 and if the equipment is found to be suitable for the hazardous zone that it is in, then this can save a tremendous amount of money in terms of capital and operating expenditure.

There are 2 methods of achieving conformity with ATEX legation (ATEX Directive – 2014/34/EU – ATEX 114) for equipment in hazardous areas; a Risk Assessed based approach (e.g., by conducting a NEIRA) or a certification based approach, in collaboration with the equipment manufacturer. The certification based approach with an equipment manufacturer is usually very expensive with long lead times, that can delay in production at a facility. A NEIRA, on the other hand is non-intrusive to the operation of the facility, cost effective to conduct and beneficial for the facility staff. 

The NEIRA assessment aims at identifying all ignition sources available:

Normal operations – ignition sources which could occur when the equipment is operating within its normal operating parameters

Expected malfunctions – ignition sources which could occur due to expected failure modes, operational errors or maintenance errors

Rare malfunctions – ignition sources which could, in theory, occur even if they haven’t yet occurred in the site

Understanding NEIRA

Non-electrical equipment can cause an explosion by friction, impact, static, hot surfaces and many other methods. All equipment designed to be used in explosive atmospheres should be assessed for risk to ensure that explosions can be mitigated.

NEIRA, is therefore limited to equipment or locations where flammable atmospheres (gases/ vapours/ combustible dusts and powders) could occur.

This assessment undertakes a systematic review of potential ignition sources, then determines the likelihood of them becoming an effective ignition source (i.e., having sufficient energy to ignite an explosive atmosphere).

Measures are then proposed to minimise/eliminate the possibility of effective ignition from each source. Practical recommendations, such as updates to maintenance procedures are also given to ensure existing equipment are ‘safe’ and comply with ATEX certification levels referred to as Equipment Protection Level (EPL).

What equipment should be assessed?

Typical equipment may include fans, rotary airlocks, pumps, reactor agitators, screw conveyors and bucket elevators. Such equipment can be at risk of generating sources of ignition for flammable atmospheres.

The Sigma-HSE Advantage

Our dedicated process safety specialists have years of industry experience and can apply NEIRA risk assessments across a range of industries and businesses. Whether it’s a new design or a review of existing processes, our team of specialist consultants are committed to helping you ensure and maintain compliance without the exorbitant fees and delay to your operations.

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Identify, mitigate and control the risks associated with your process equipment

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