Operating equipment in a Potentially Explosive Environment is a serious consideration for every operator and manufacturer. Many plant owners or operators are required by law or requested by local authorities to review the potential risk and hazard of operating the process equipment within their facilities.
Evaluating the environmental conditions and then reviewing the project applications can be a very complex and time consuming process. When these products are operated in foreign countries or unknown facilities, support from an expert can be extremely helpful, saving time and reducing costs related to the project.
ECE Global provides detailed pressure equipment Pre-Certification and Certification Services according to the Directive 2014/34/EU, concerning Equipment and Protective Systems intended for the use in potentially Explosive Atmospheres.
Objective of the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU (replaced Directive 94/9/EC)
The objective of directive 2014/34/EU is to ensure free movement of the products throughout the EU territory. Therefore the directive, based on Article 95 of the EC Treaty, provides for harmonized requirements and procedures to establish compliance. The directive notes that essential requirements regarding safety and other relevant attributes need to be defined ensuring a high level of protection. These Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) are listed in directive 2014/34/EU at Annex II.
After June 30th, 2003, only products that comply with directive 2014/34/EU (and other relevant legislation) may be placed on the market in the EU territory, freely moved and operated as designed and intended in the expected environment. It should be noted that for the first time directive 2014/34/EU provides Essential Health and Safety Requirements for:
- Non-electrical equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
- Equipment intended for use in environments which are potentially explosive due to dust hazards and protective systems
- Devices intended for use outside explosive atmospheres which are required for, or contribute to the safe functioning of equipment or protective systems with respect to risks of explosion.
This is an increase in scope compared to existing national regulations.
Directive 2014/34/EU applies to products placed on the market in the EU whether they are manufactured inside or outside of the EU. For electrical equipment, it is clear that the current Harmonized Standards, as listed in the old explosive atmosphere directives, will be useful as a step towards a demonstration of conformity to directive 2014/34/EU before the full set of Harmonized Standards become available. As the standards listed in the old directives are amended, cover a number of the EHSRs (Essential Health and Safety Requirements as specified in the directive 2014/34/EU), it may be easier for manufacturers to use these editions and then apply additional measures covering those EHSRs not yet covered by Harmonized Standards. This is the case during the transitional period.
It is important to stress that directive 2014/34/EU carries obligations for the person who places products on the market and/or puts them into service, be it the manufacturer, his authorized representative, the importer or any other responsible person. The directive does not regulate the use of equipment in a potentially explosive atmosphere, however the use of equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres is regulated through directive 89/655/EEC. In brief, this directive states that products may only be used if conforming to the relevant directives (Article 95 directives) which are applied as appropriate to the product at the time of placing it on the market or putting it into service.
Furthermore, it is intended to regulate the use of products in explosive atmospheres by a “Council directive on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres” which will be an individual directive within the meaning of Article 16 of directive 89/391/EEC and based on Article 138 of the EC Treaty.
In general, the use of such products in potentially explosive areas has to be monitored as part of the surveillance activity undertaken by the competent authorities in the Member States.Back to Top