The manufacturer can stipulate that the product conforms to the necessary standards. Highly dangerous ATEX zones must have their products inspected and approved by an outside organisation known as a Notified Body. Only after products are certified can they be marked with the ATEX logo. BS EN governs the safe use of reciprocating internal combustion engines.
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If there is enough of the substance, mixed with air, then all it needs is a source of ignition to cause an explosion. Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as significant damage. Preventing releases of dangerous substances, which can create explosive atmospheres, and preventing sources of ignition are two widely used ways of reducing the risk. Using the correct equipment can help greatly in this.
A summary of those requirements can be found below. This page does not deal with intentional explosives such as those used in demolition work or blasting in quarries. In DSEAR, an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.
Atmospheric conditions are commonly referred to as ambient temperatures and pressures. Where can explosive atmospheres be found? Many workplaces may contain, or have activities that produce, explosive or potentially explosive atmospheres. Examples include places where work activities create or release flammable gases or vapours, such as vehicle paint spraying, or in workplaces handling fine organic dusts such as grain flour or wood.
What is ATEX? For more information on how the requirements of the Directive have been put into effect in Great Britain see the information in the section Explosive atmospheres in the workplace below. For more information on how the requirements of the Directive have been put into effect in Great Britain see the section on Equipment and protective systems intended for use in explosive atmospheres.
The requirements in DSEAR apply to most workplaces where a potentially explosive atmosphere may occur. Some industry sectors and work activities are exempted because there is other legislation that fulfils the requirements. In addition to the general requirements, the Regulations place the following specific duties on employers with workplaces where explosive atmospheres may occur. Classification of areas where explosive atmospheres may occur Employers must classify areas where hazardous explosive atmospheres may occur into zones.
The classification given to a particular zone, and its size and location, depends on the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere occurring and its persistence if it does. Schedule 2 of DSEAR contains descriptions of the various classifications of zones for gases and vapours and for dusts. Further information and guidance on the classification and zoning of areas where potentially explosive atmospheres may occur and the selection of equipment for use in those areas: Explosive atmospheres - Classification of hazardous areas zoning and selection of equipment Selection of equipment and protective systems Areas classified into zones must be protected from sources of ignition.
Equipment and protective systems intended to be used in zoned areas should be selected to meet the requirements of the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations Equipment already in use before July can continue to be used indefinitely provided a risk assessment shows it is safe to do so.
Providing anti-static clothing Employers must provide workers who work in zoned areas with appropriate clothing that does not create the risk of an electrostatic discharge igniting the explosive atmosphere, eg anti-static footwear. The clothing provided depends on the level of risk identified in the risk assessment. Confirming verifying overall explosion safety Before a workplace containing zoned areas comes into operation for the first time, the employer must ensure that the overall explosion safety measures are confirmed verified as being safe.
This must be done by a person or organisation competent to consider the particular risks in the workplace, and the adequacy of the explosion control and other measures put in place.
The Regulations apply to all equipment intended for use in explosive atmospheres, whether electrical or mechanical, and also to protective systems. Certification ensures that the equipment or protective system is fit for its intended purpose and that adequate information is supplied with it to ensure that it can be used safely.
UK website. Further information:.
New ATEX directive 2014/34/EU
As of July , organisations in the EU must follow the directives to protect employees from explosion risk in areas with an explosive atmosphere. The information in this article is not yet updated and some information refers to the old one. This texts aims to align at its origin 10 directives. The classification given to a particular zone, and its size and location, depends on the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere occurring and its persistence if it does. Areas classified into zones 0, 1, 2 for gas-vapor-mist and 20, 21, 22 for dust must be protected from effective sources of ignition. Zone 0 and 20 require Category 1 marked equipment, zone 1 and 21 require Category 2 marked equipment and zone 2 and 22 require Category 3 marked equipment. Zone 0 and 20 are the zones with the highest risk of an explosive atmosphere being present.
ATEX and explosive atmospheres