ATEX is an acronym of the French Atmospheriques Explosive and is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:
- Directive 99/92/EC also known as ‘ATEX 153’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’ on minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. It concentrates on the end users’ responsibilities.
- Directive 2014/34/EU replaces 94/9/EC also known as ‘ATEX 114’ or the ‘ATEX Equipment Directive’ on the approximation of the laws of Members States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. It focuses on the duties of the manufacturers.
ATEX directives sets out some specific obligations that the employers in Europe has to fulfil as follows:
These European Directives demands safety requirements for hazardous areas in the relevant national legislation in the member states of the European Union, bringing in a common standard. Compliance with the ATEX Directive ensures improved safety aspects by way of safer design, more demanding testing procedures and specific quality assurance measures for the design as well as the manufacturing process. It requires employers to protect both staff and local communities from the risk of an explosive atmosphere.
- Prevent and protect against explosions.
- Carry out an assessment of the explosion risks.
- Ensure safe working conditions including the provision of instructions, training supervision and technical measures.
- Duty of Coordination subcontractors/visitors.
- Classify the areas where an explosive atmosphere may occur in to Zones including where appropriate the marking of entry points into such areas.
- Select appropriate equipment.
- Prepare an explosion protection document.