ATEX (ATmospheres EXplosibles) Directive 2014/34/EU
Equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX)
A potentially explosive atmosphere exists when a mixture of air gases, vapours, mists, or dusts combine in a way that can ignite under certain operating conditions.
Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX) cover a range of products, including those used on fixed offshore platforms, petrochemical plants, mines, and flour mills, amongst others.
EU Legislation and ATEX
The ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU covers equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The Directive defines the essential health and saftey requirements and conformity assessment procedures, to be applied before products are placed on the EU market. It is aligned with the New Legislative Framework policy, and it is applicable from 20 April 2016, replacing the previous Directive 94/9/EC.
There are two ATEX directives (one for the manufacturer and one for the user of the equipment):
- ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU, Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres;
- ATEX 137 workplace directive 99/92/EC, Minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.
The ATEX 94/9/EU that is dedicated to the manufacturer has changed. Always applicable up to 19 April 2016 the ATEX 94/9/EC has been removed and replaced by the new directive.
This new ATEX directive was published on Saturday 29 March 2014, under the new reference : 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 (recast) Text with EEA relevance - Official Journal of the European Union L 96 from 29/03/2014.
This new ATEX directive 2014/34/EU will be mandatory for manufacturer on 20 April 2016 as is stated in article 44 of the directive.
Promised for a long time, this new ATEX directive has been published together with 8 other directives in the frame of NEW LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK (NLF) ALIGNMENT PACKAGE (Implementation of the Goods Package). It was the subject of a "COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL" for the Alignment of ten technical harmonisation directives to Decision No 768/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products, in Brussels, 21.11.2011 under reference COM(2011) 763 final.
The European Union website address for ATEX information is: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/mechanical-engineering/atex_en
You can also link to http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/ for current information and events
End Users/Employers' Directive 99/92/EC - ATEX 137
Requires employers to protect workers from the risk of explosive atmospheres
This directive applies to most industry sectors but some, such as mines and quarries, are exempt because they already have their own set of stringent regulations.
ATEX 137 (and 'CAD', the Chemical Agents Directive) will be implemented in the UK through DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) safety regulations. These will be enforced by the HSE.
Essentially there should be no major changes for End Users who are already working with good practice and to current regulations.