The ATEX directive
What is the ATEX directive, how should you apply it, and what can Process Engineering A/S offer you? On this page we try to enlighten you about the ATEX directive.
What can Process Engineering offer?
Process Engineering offers certification and CE marking of equipment according to the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU. Thus, we handle communication with notified bodies and other authorities on behalf of our clients. In relation to the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU, we offer to prepare your explosion protection documentation. We also offer advice regarding all aspects of the ATEX – directive, as well as perform analyses and risk evaluations including documentation of any kind within this area.
We have solved a multitude of tasks within this area. Even if you have chosen to handle ATEX related projects internally and build a knowledge base on your own, we are happy to be a sounding board for you to bounce ideas and challenges off, and offer to assist your employees during their initial projects. If you do not wish to spend the resources to build internal knowledge of ATEX, we are more than happy to handle all aspects of this for you.
Examples of our ATEX offering:
- General advice about the directives
- Performing your ATEX-analysis
- Risk evaluation in relation to 2014/34/EU and 1999/92/EC
- Composition of user manuals and directions
- Assistance with technical files
- Classification of hazardous areas
- Composition of explosion protection documentation, (in particular Health & Safety risk assessment)
- Marking of areas and facilities
See an example of an ATEX-related accident:
What is ATEX?
ATEX are the set of rules applicable to equipment used in explosive atmospheres and to workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. The ATEX requirements for equipment are detailed in directive 2014/34/EU and the ATEX requirements for workplaces are detailed in directive 99/92/EC.
Both directives are colloquially known as the ATEX directive, even though it is actually two separate directives. We often separate the two by referring to them as the ATEX equipment directive and the ATEX workplace directive.
ATEX applies to:
- Explosive atmospheres consisting of a mix of air and explosive gasses or mists
- Explosive atmospheres consisting of a mix of air and dust
- Atmospheres consisting of both explosive gasses and dust.
Where does ATEX apply?
The ATEX equipment directive is a product directive, which purpose is to ensure free trade for relevant electrical as well as mechanical products within the common market. These rules are consistent within all EU countries. In that, individual countries are not allowed to deviate from these regulations. Products which comply with the ATEX directive can be CE marked and must also show additional marking as prescribed by the directive and the harmonised standards.
The ATEX workplace directive’s purpose is to secure workers’ safety from the consequences of an explosion, by preventing that one occurs. The workplace directive applies everywhere within the EU territory. Unlike the equipment directive, it consists of a set of minimum standards, to which individual countries can add national legislation that is more restrictive.
The requirements for equipment originate from the ATEX workplace requirement, which demands a classification of areas with explosive atmospheres. This classification consists of a division into zones, based on the likelihood of the emergence of an explosive atmosphere. Equipment, which is to be used within these zones, must be chosen from set categories, so that a consistency exists between the risk of the equipment to act as a source of ignition and the risk of an explosive atmosphere emerging.
With few exceptions, ATEX is applicable to all commercial environments within industries on land as well as on permanent offshore installations, in the mineral extraction industry on land or underground.
How should for instance a food manufacturer relate to the ATEX directive?
As an example of how manufacturers should be concerned with the ATEX directive, a manufacturer within the food industry can be used.
A food manufacturer typically has production facilities that as a minimum consists of:
- produce storage
- processing facilities
- utilities such as cooling, steam water treatment etc.
- final product storage.
It is the food manufacturer’s duty to review their facilities, in order to map out which products have fire and explosion risks and to produce a explosions security document, known in Denmark as an ATEX – APV (Risk Assessment APV). In this explosions security document, it must be examined how the requirements set out by the ATEX directive 1999/92/EC are met, including the division into explosion hazard zones. Based on the research behind the explosion security document, demands are set out for:
- electrical and mechanical equipment
- procedures for use and maintenance of workspaces and equipment
- procedures for personnel training
- coordination with external human resources
- tagging and marking of areas etc.
The explosion security document will need to be regularly reviewed and kept up to date at all times.
When a food manufacturer produces machinery for their production, which is placed in an atmosphere that consists of or contain, traces of explosive atmospheres, they are required to comply with the explosion protection demands listed in ATEX directive 94/9/EC as well as the Machinery Directive. This means that all rules regarding evaluation of health and safety must be documented during the creation of the technical dossier, as well as user instructions and marking. For certain types of equipment, it is required that a notified body is involved in this process as well.
How should for instance a machine factory relate to the ATEX directive?
Anyone who produces machinery or equipment to be used in explosive atmospheres or which itself contains explosive atmospheres must comply with ATEX directive 94/9/EC and if relevant, the equipment must also comply with the explosion protection requirements listed in the Machinery Directive.