In electrical engineering, a hazardous location is defined as a place where concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or dusts occur. Electrical equipment that must be installed in such locations is especially designed and tested to ensure it does not initiate an explosion, due to arcing contacts or high surface temperature of equipment.
For example a household light switch may emit a small, harmless visible spark when switching; in an ordinary atmosphere this arc is of no concern, but if a flammable vapor is present, the arc might start an explosion. Electrical equipment intended for use in a chemical factory or refinery is designed either to contain any explosion within the device, or is designed not to produce sparks with sufficient energy to trigger an explosion.
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