What are the ATEX directives?
These are European Directives and there are two:
ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU covers equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. This Directive defines the essential health and safety requirements and conformity assessment procedures that need to be applied before products are placed on the EU market. In force from 20 April 2016, it replaces the previous Directive 94/9/EC.
ATEX Workplace Directive 1999/92/EC covers the minimum requirements for improving the level of health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.
In Great Britain these directives were implemented into existing regulations where 2014/34/EU falls under the EPS, The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (EPS) and 1999/92/EC falls under The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
What does this mean?
Users of equipment and factory owners must comply with DSEAR and must:
Identify what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the fire and explosion risks are
Put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
Put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
Prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances
Make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
Identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources in those areas
To support the classification of the workplace there are two standards:
Gas according to BS EN 60079-10-1 Explosive atmospheres, Classification of areas, Explosive gas atmospheres
Dust according to BS EN 60079-10-2 Explosive atmospheres, Classification of areas, Explosive dust atmospheres
Classified area – Zone 20 or 0 Equipment Group II Category 1
A place in which an explosive atmosphere caused by mixtures of air and gases, vapours, mists or air/dusts mixtures are highly likely to occur and are present continuously, for long periods of time or frequently.
Classified area – Zone 21 or 1 Equipment Group II Category 2
A place in which an explosive atmosphere caused by mixtures of air and gases, vapours, mists or air/dust mixtures are likely to occur
Classified area – Zone 22 or 2 Equipment Group II Category 3
A place in which an explosive atmosphere caused by mixtures of air and gases, vapours, mists or air/dust mixtures are unlikely to occur and if they do occur, do so infrequently and for a short period of time only.
Where an area is classified, equipment should be selected and used on the basis that is does not create an ignition source for the atmosphere during its intended use and the frequency the atmosphere is present.
A risk assessment is often used to confirm that the equipment used in the area is safe for use.
Since 1st July 2003 all new equipment for use in classified areas has needed to comply with 94/9/EC, 2014/34/EU or EPS in Great Britain.
Since 1st July 2006 existing equipment used within a classified area has needed to have been assessed, and if needed, modified, to ensure it is safe for use.
How do you know if the equipment used is safe?
Equipment supplied since 1st July 2003 that is in compliance with the ATEX directives will be marked; part of this marking will include what category of equipment has been supplied. It is a case of matching the equipment category to the classified area as follows:-
It is possible to use higher category equipment in a lower category requirement, for example category 2 equipment can be used where category 2 or 3 equipment is required.
Existing equipment, supplied before 1st July 2003, will not carry the ATEX marking, the assessment and record of any modifications should form the justification for the continued use.
There will be instances where equipment also contains a potentially explosive atmosphere and explosion protection is used. ATEX requires that the explosion protection complies with the Directive and that the potential effects of the explosion are mitigated.
Dustcheck can supply fully ATEX compliant equipment for use within and containing a potentially explosive atmosphere.
Unsure if the dust being handled is explosive? If so, check using the links below:
IFA explosion characteristics of dusts.
The link opens up a widely regarded database giving important combustion and explosion characteristics of more than 4600 dust samples from virtually all sectors of industry.
General Guidance On Atex