Let the Devil Wear Black - Memoirs of an analyst

James F. Linden - Writer ...
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Resources - Safety Torch

SA812 safety torch features.

Chapter 1

The SA812 safety torches that we used on site — one of which I bought — were fairly similar to this. This is SA’s EX200R safety torch which is the modernised equivalent.

I used to use my original SA812 for camping and general home–use after I left the company and with a camping trip imminent, I put it away in a safe place one day and haven’t been able to find it since.

Needing a safety torch and with the SA812 being the best by a long way — see below — I bought a replacement but they had changed them to the EX200R, in black. I talked to the fire brigade on an open day once about the curious decision to make safety torches black and they weren’t too happy about it either although, thinking about it, a black torch would show up well in snow.

I was walking my daughter home from her boyfriend’s house and she said; ‘I’ll race you to the end of the road.’ At some point, I realised that my body was going faster than my legs were and I promptly fell over, doing a three–point landing on one knee, my left wrist (breaking it) and the metal switch of the torch, crushing it so that it remained on — a little job later on, to get a replacement switch — and just to add insult to injury, the torch and the pavement surface, tore a hole in my fleece.

Since then, I have managed to lose that one as well* and now have this EX200R in yellow which is quite good. It has changed a bit from the SA812.

One thing that has changed that is particularly noticeable is the pocket clip which used to be made from a piece of non–ferrous metal that was riveted onto the body of the torch. This was fine except that it would eventually get bent back a bit and would not hold tightly to the body of the torch any more. This led to a number of peculiar strategies being adopted by various people on the plant. The replacement for it is a black plastic clip that twists into place and locks with the screw at the top that you can see. On the last one I had, when it fell onto concrete once, the clip broke, leaving two jagged ends poking out backwards. I don’t know if they have changed the plastic that the clips are made from since then but I’m not prepared to find out by experiment.

Another thing that has changed has been the light and the way that its safe use interacts with the general design of the torch. This one has a light in a capsule and the way that it makes contact with the battery power is designed such that you can safely open the torch in–situ and change the bulb or change the batteries. As a result, the need for the base cap to have a castellated end with a retaining screw and for the top cover to have holes in the end for another retaining screw has gone. One advantage of the castellated end on the battery cap was that you know that it wouldn’t unscrew by accident.

Also, the old safety torches were not rated for an explosive atmosphere with hydrogen whereas the new torches are rated at IIA, IIB and IIC so that now includes hydrogen.

Superficially, the rest is pretty much the same — anti–static plastic, membrane switch so it is water– gas–proof, Ex rated, BASEEFA certified, will work 2m underwater, is still safe to use in an explosive environment after dropping 2m onto concrete, tight beam for seeing through fog or smoke, and so on — except that now, it is certified to use alkaline batteries of a number of makes although they can only go up to 40C whereas the zinc–chloride batteries that the old torch was only certified for can go up to 55C.

The temperature specification is higher as well — the old torch was rated with a temperature class of T6 (85C) whereas the new torches are rated at T4 (135C).

Basically, you can use this as a super–rugged torch for everything and if you get home to find that the gas has been left on, you can use it without blowing up your home.

* Since then, I have found the black torch again and have contacted SA Equipment who are going to send me the spare switch. Good for them.

The promise of the green sticker on the windowed brown envelope was fulfilled by the letter inside.

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