ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres. Directive 99/92/EC (ATEX 137) is concerned with the minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres, and is implemented in the UK through the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR).
UK companies storing or handling substances that can burst into flames or explode must comply with DSEAR. This includes not only dangerous substances but combustible dusts (e.g., flour, wood dust, etc.), gases under pressure in cylinders and corrosives.
DSEAR requires an understanding of the properties of the materials being handled, what can go wrong, and the equipment, systems and procedures needed to maintain safe operation.
The Regulations also require knowledge of where releases may occur on plant in normal operation and determination of the extent of any flammable atmosphere, i.e. through Hazardous Area Classification or Zoning. Precautions must be in place to reduce the likelihood of ignition of these releases, and to mitigate the effects of ignition or explosion (e.g. through explosion relief, explosion suppression equipment, etc.).
Directive 94/9/EU (now 2014/34/EU ATEX 95) is concerned with the supply of equipment, protective systems, components etc., for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. In the UK it is implemented through The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (EPS). Electrical and non-electrical equipment intended for use within a flammable atmosphere must comply with the Directive by being constructed in a way that reduces the likelihood of ignition – such special equipment is commonly termed ‘ATEX’ equipment.
Whether it’s a new design or a review of existing processes, systems or procedures, HFL Consulting can help map out the most cost effective route for compliance with ATEX and DSEAR.
Specific areas where we can help include: