What Is ATEX?
ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:
1) Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’) on minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. The text of the Directive and the supporting EU produced guidelines are available on the EU-website. 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.
2) Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’) on the approximation of the laws of Members States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The text of the Directive and EU produced supporting guidelines are available on the EU website. 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.
ATEX 137 – Health protection and safety at work
In addition to the ATEX Safety Directive 2014/34/EC, the European Commission has issued a supplementary Directive (ATEX 137) to improve the health protection and safety of employees who may be endangered by explosive atmospheres. The ATEX 137 Directive comprises:
Definition of minimum requirements to improve the health protection and safety of employees.
Classification of areas in zones where a potentially explosive atmosphere may occur.
A warning symbol to indicate areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may occur.
Connection between ATEX 137 and ATEX 95 (1)
Directive 2014/34/EC (ATEX 95) defines specifications for the provision and use of electrical and non-electrical equipment in an explosive atmosphere. The essential safety and health protection requirements for equipment are defined in a classification system. The requirements defined by the two Directives for manufacturers and plant operators are shown in the table below.
The three categories into which Group II equipment is divided by ATEX 95 correspond to the three zones referred to in ATEX 137. This means, for example, that in Zones 2 or 22, in which an explosive atmosphere never or only rarely occurs during normal operation, any equipment may be used which at least falls under Category 3 and does not constitute an ignition hazard during normal operation.
Manufacturer And User Requirements Resulting From ATEX Directives (1)
|Essential requirements for manufacturers “ATEX 95” – 2014/34/EC||Essential requirements for users “ATEX 137”|
|Definition of the area for use of equipment, specifications of Equipment Group II / Category||Definition of zones in an installation selection of appropriate equipment|
|Category 1:||Zone 0/20|
|Category 2:||Zone 1/21|
|Category 3:||Zone 2/22|
|The equipment must conform to the essential safety and health requirements or the relevant standard||Compliance with the relevant requirements concerning installation, putting into service and maintenance|
|Performance of a risk/ignition source analysis for the equipment in question||Performance of a hazard analysis for the operating area need for coordination|
|Issue of an Attestation of Conformity||Issue of an Explosion Protection Document|
|Appropriate quality assurance||Regular updating|