ATEX – Regulations for Explosive Amospheres

ATEX Verification 
Veritex – Inspection and Verification of electrical and mechanical installations in Hazardous Areas.
Certified ATEX Auditors and Designers.

ATEX refers to the regulations in force to protect employees and others in areas where an explosive atmosphere might potentially be present

Explosion risks might occur from Dust or Vapour hazards.

All regulations are derived from two ATEX directives.

ATEX 95 The Equipment Directive 94/9/EC, Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

ATEX 137 The Workplace Directive 99/92/EC, Minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.

What is the legal status in Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, the ATEX Workplace Directive is incorporated into the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). These Regulations are overseen by the UK Health and Safety Executive which publishes an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L138.
This ACOP also informs much of the regulations in the Republic, which are overseen by the Irish Health and Safety Authority (HSA). The Irish HSA also publishes a Guide to Explosive Atmospheres at Places of Work.

Both ATEX Directives are fully incorporated into Irish Law under –

  1. SI 83 of 1999 European Communities (Equipment & Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1999)
  2. SI 299 of 2007 – Part 8 of the 2007 Safety Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations

What are the principal relevant standards ?

IEC 60079  – Explosive Atmospheres .
This is the  worldwide standard for all aspects of Explosive Atmospheres, now formally adopted as British Standard (BSEN60079) and an Irish Standard (ISEN60079).
Presently dealing with electrical installations only, it  harmonises European and Non- European practices.
IEC 60079 part 14 is the definitive standard for the design, installation and testing of electrical installations in Hazardous Areas.
There are over 30 parts to the standard. The parts of most interest to those dealing with installations (as opposed to equipment manufacture) are

Part 0 – General Requirements
Part 10.1 – Classification of areas -Explosive Gas Atmospheres
Part 10.2 – Classification of areas – Combustible Dust Atmospheres
Part 14 – Electrical Installations – Design, selection and erection
Part 17 – Electrical Installations – Inspection and maintenance
In addition, IEC 60079 introduces a new marking system for Ex equipment and is the basis for the IECEx Certification Scheme for Competent Persons.

EN1127  – Explosive atmospheres – Explosion prevention and protection.  
Defines the basic concepts and methodologies for explosion protection. Defines the potential ignition sources and provides the basic methodologies for Risk Assessment and Risk Reduction.

EN13463  – Non-Electrical Equipment for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres.  
Describes the basic methods and requirements for design, construction, testing and marking of non-electrical equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

EN15198  – Methodology for the Risk Assessment of Non-Electrical Equipment and Components intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres

In the Republic the requirements for electrical installations are summarised in ET105 – Irish National Rules for Electrical Installations in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres.
ET-105 has no statutory basis – it is used as an aid and a guide for those working in the area of explosive atmospheres.

How does it affect me?

Depending on your role in the installations various duties are placed upon you by the regulations and standards

 Plant Owner/Employer 

  1. Identify the areas where Explosive Atmospheres might occur
  2. Classify the affected areas according to the risk
  3. Risk Assessment  – Assess the Risk of an explosion in each area
  4. Implement technical and organisational measures to eliminate the risk from explosive atmospheres. Where this is not possible take measures to control the risk and to minimise the harmful effects of any fire or explosion
  5. Document the protective measures to be taken in the Explosion Protection Document
  6. VerificationBefore a hazardous area is brought into use for the first time, employ a competent person to verify the explosion safety of the area
  7. MaintenanceEnsure the equipment and installations are maintained in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and IEC 60079-17.
  8. Periodic InspectionsEmploy a competent person to ensure that periodic inspections of the installations are carried out in accordance with  IEC 60079-17 

 Design Engineer  (Applicable also to Electrical Contractors who carry out the design function)

  1. Select mechanical and Electrical equipment certified for use in the area
  2. Implement any pertinent Special Conditions of Use mentioned on the equipment certificates
  3. Design the electrical installation in compliance and IEC 60079 part 14
  4. Prepare a Descriptive System Document for all intrinsically Safe Circuits.

 Electrical Contractor 

  1. Employ only suitably Trained and Competent persons to carry out the installation
  2. Implement any pertinent Special Conditions of Use mentioned on the equipment certificates or other manufacturers instructions
  3. Install the electrical installation in compliance with  IEC 60079 -14
  4. Inspect and Test the installation in accordance with  IEC 60079 -14, in particular Annexe C – Initial Inspections (See Note).
  5. Certify – Issue a valid completion certificate including test and inspection records for the installation.

Note : Depending on the contract arrangements, the initial inspection may be carried also out by the Design Engineer or Verification Engineer.

 Mechanical Contractor / Supplier  

  1. Supply only suitably Certified  Mechanical equipment
  2. Advise the Electrical Contractor or Designer of any Special Conditions of Use for the supplied equipment
  3. Provide copies of all equipment certificates
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ATEX Verification

Ger Hennessy C.Eng
30 yrs Electrical Engineer
in the Process Industry

Functional Safety