The ATEX Directives
What can Process Engineering A/S offer?
Process Engineering A/S offers certification and CE marking of equipment according to the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU and handling of contact to any notified bodies and authorities on behalf of our clients. As regards the ATEX Directive 1999/92/EC, we offer drawing up explosion protection documents. Furthermore, we advise about all thinkable aspects in connection with ATEX, and we also offer to carry out analyses and risk assessments and to draw up documentation of any kind within this area.
We have completed many projects within this area. Even if you have decided to complete these projects internally yourselves in order to keep the knowledge in your own house, we shall be glad to act as a sparring partner and help your employees in the starting phase. Should you no longer wish to use your own resources building up an ATEX competence, we can, of course, also carry out the entire process for you.
Examples of ATEX-related services:
• General advice about the directives
• Carrying out ATEX analysis
• Risk assessment according to 2014/34/EU and 1999/92/EC
• Drawing up user manuals and instructions
• Help to compile technical files
• Zone classification
• Drawing up explosion protection documents (specially workplace assessment)
• Marking of areas and plants
See an example of an ATEX-related accident:
What is ATEX?
ATEX are the rules governing equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, and safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres, respectively. The ATEX rules for design of equipment are in Directive 2014/34/EU and the ATEX rules for workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres are in Directive 1999/92/EC.
Both directives are commonly called the ATEX Directive even though there are two different sets of rules. In Denmark, we often distinguish between the two directives by referring to Directive 2014/34/EU as the ATEX Design Directive and to Directive 1999/92/EC as the ATEX Use Directive.
ATEX applies both to potentially explosive atmospheres consisting of a mix of air and gas and to potentially explosive atmospheres consisting of a mix of air and dust – and to potentially explosive atmospheres containing both gases and dust.
Where does ATEX apply?
The ATEX Design Directive is a product directive with the purpose of ensuring the freedom of movement on the EU Internal Market for electrical as well mechanical equipment comprised by the directive. The rules are the same for all EU countries and thus it is not permitted for the individual countries to introduce special provisions which deviate from the directive. Products which meet the ATEX Design Directive can be CE marked and must also bear the special marking prescribed by the directive and the harmonized standards under the directive.
The purpose of the ATEX Use Directive is to protect workers against the consequences of explosions by preventing these from occurring. The ATEX Use Directive applies everywhere in the EU, however, in contrast to the ATEX Design Directive, it only lays down minimum regulations; thus the individual member countries are permitted to introduce more restrictive national provisions. The requirements for the equipment arise on the basis of the ATEX Use Directive as this requires a classification of workplaces with areas where an explosive atmosphere may occur. The classification must include a division into zones of the areas with explosion hazard, established on the basis of a probability assessment of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere. Equipment for use in classified zones is to be chosen in a certain category or on the basis of a risk assessment so that there is a coherence between the probability of the equipment being able to function as an ignitions source and the probability of an explosive atmosphere occurring.
With a few exceptions, ATEX applies in all commercial environments, both in land-based industries and on permanent offshore installations, and in the mineral extraction industry on-land and underground.
How is, for example, a food manufacturer to act in accordance with ATEX?
As an example of how to act in accordance with ATEX, we can take a food manufacturer. A food manufacturer typically has production facilities comprising, as a minimum, a raw material stock; processing machinery; utilities in the form of cooling, steam, water treatment, etc.; and a finished goods stock. The food manufacturer is obliged to examine all his facilities in order to map products posing fire or explosion hazard, and to draw up an explosion protection document or, as it also called in Denmark: an ATEX-APV (ATEX workplace assessment). In the explosion protection document, it must be explained how the requirements in the ATEX Directive 1999/92/EC are met, including a description of how the areas with explosion hazard have been divided into zones. On the background of the examinations in connection with the drawing up of the explosion protection document, the requirements on electrical and mechanical equipment are established, and procedures are drawn up for use and maintenance of workplaces and equipment, for training of staff, for coordinating external workers who work on the plant, for positioning of signs, for marking of areas, etc. Explosion protection documents must be updated regularly.
When a food manufacturer himself has machines made for his production and these either contain a potentially explosive atmosphere or are to be placed in a potentially explosive atmosphere, the food manufacturer is obliged to meet the requirements regarding explosion protection in the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU and in the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. This means that documentation is to be provided that all rules concerning safety and health-related issues have been followed in the form of a technical file, and instructions of users and marking must be carried out. For certain types of equipment, involving a notified body is also required.
How is, for example, a machine factory to act in accordance with ATEX?
Everybody who produces machines or equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres or containing a potentially explosive atmosphere must meet the requirements in the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU and, to the extent that the equipment is encompassed by the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, the requirements here concerning explosion protection must be met too.