The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines hazardous locations as those areas “where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers or flyings.”
A substantial part of the NEC is devoted to the discussion of hazardous locations. That’s because electrical equipment can become a source of ignition in these volatile areas. Articles 500 through 504, and 510 through 517 provide classification and installation standards for the use of electrical equipment in these locations. The writers of the NEC developed a short-hand method of describing areas classified as hazardous locations. One of the purposes of this discussion is to explain this classification system. Hazardous locations are classified in three ways by the National Electrical Code: TYPE, CONDITION, and NATURE.