Whenever equipment is being installed in an area where combustible material is present it is essential to take steps to minimize the risk of ignition.

Intrinsic Safety (IS) is an approach to the design of equipment going into hazardous areas. The idea is to reduce the available energy to a level where it is too low to cause ignition. That means preventing sparks and keeping temperatures low.

The alternatives are to design systems so oxygen is excluded (by purging with inert gas) or to isolate possible sources of ignition. This can be done either by putting equipment in enclosures strong enough to contain an explosion or by moving it outside the hazardous area.