High-power ultrasonic non-destructive evaluation (NDE) poses significant threats to intrinsic safety. It may lead to hazards in critical industrial applications, especially in oil & gas refineries, high-energy material technologies and the aerospace and aviation industries. Typically, industries employ various certifications and undertake several safety protocols to suppress the likelihood of industrial hazards. In order to satisfy safety standards for operating high-power equipment close to potential explosives and inflammable substances, industries direct large sums of investment into making these inspection systems intrinsically safe by designing complex structures and devising procedures to isolate such equipment from the system or process entirely. However, the uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of such protective measures results in a persisting difficulty in obtaining plant safety certifications and approvals. In this paper, the application of a coded excitation method to make inspection systems intrinsically safe and easily certifiable is explored. Using a pulse compression-based signal processing technique called coded excitation, it has been made possible to achieve non-contact transduction (electromagnetic acoustic transduction and air-coupled transduction) in transmitreceive mode with excitation as low as 0.5 Vpp (peak-to-peak supply voltage). This work reports on the application of coded excitation in bringing down the transduction power requirements for guided ultrasonic wave inspection, thereby making it possible to formulate new inspection applications at very low power, particularly in safety-critical industries. © 2021 British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing. All rights reserved.