The ATEX Directive has been adapted to the new European legal framework. This means that from 20 April 2016 only products may be offered that comply with the new directive. From 20 April 2016 certificates will be issued under ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU. Certificates under the old ATEX Directive 94/9/EC will continue to be valid.
Definitions and safety requirements in accordance with the ATEX Directive
ATEX stands for ATmosphère EXplosibles (explosive atmospheres). Manufacturers and operators are bound by two central directives that are intended to prevent explosions and hence protect people, the environment and assets:
- ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU (relevant for manufacturers and their products)
- ATEX Directive 1999/92/EC (relevant for operators)
The Equipment Directive serves to protect people from the risk of explosion. It regulates the essential health and safety requirements when placing products on the market for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Non-electrical devices are also included. A relevant conformity assessment procedure must be used to prove that the specification of the directive has been met.
In addition, the regulations of the Workplace Directive are designed to protect people who are exposed to potentially explosive atmospheres. It also says that the employer must produce an explosion protection document as part of the hazard assessment.
The specifications of the Workplace Directive include:
- Primary explosion protection: Reduces or prevents the formation of an explosive atmosphere
- Secondary explosion protection: Avoids effective ignition sources
- Tertiary explosion protection: Limits the effects of a potential explosion to an acceptable extent
Titles of the ATEX Directives
ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
ATEX Directive 1999/92/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1999 on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.