124 South Shields Business Works.
Henry Robson Way.
South Shields. NE33 1RF
The first action is to determine, through a risk assessment, where hazardous areas or explosive atmospheres are likely to occur and then to divide these areas into zones. There are 3 ATEX zones.
zone 0 is a place where an explosive atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods
zone 1 is a place where an exposive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation
zone 2 is a place where an explosive atmosphere is not likely to occur but if it does it will exist only for a short period
Once the zones have been identified, hazardous area classification drawings must be produced and only suitably certified electrical equipment can be used in these areas so a full 100% inspection is needed. All inspection records must be kept for verification of compliance by HSE and insurance companies.
Other actions include instituting a permit to work system, hazardous area awareness training for all personnel who work in the hazardous areas including contractors (this is a requirement often overlooked leading to companies actually breaking the Law without knowing it) providing anti-static clothing, displaying ATEX warning signs (also often overlooked) maintaining an explosion protection document and an Ex register. The EPD should include risk assessment, area classification, the inspection strategy, inspection records, details of staff hazardous area training and the permit to work system
ATEX is the name commonly given to two European Directives (Laws) for controlling explosive atmospheres:
1) Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ATEX 95) concerns equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive. This is for manufacturers of ATEX equipment to allow free trade across EU borders without the need for certification in each country.
2) Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ATEX 137) concerns the minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. This is the Law that all end users, employers and companies must comly with.
ATEX came into force in 2003 and it places responsiblity on employers to eliminate or control the risks arising from potentially explosive atmospheres and to ensure they are safe places of work for employees. Employers must be able to demonstrate that the overall explosion protection safety measures have been considered and implemented and they must be able to provide evidence of this.
To verify compliance, an inspection is required under IEC 60079-17 (The inspections of electrical installations in hazardous area) and we specialise in these inspections, it is the reason Atex Inspections Ltd was setup.