Equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX)

The European Union has adopted a law on the sale and putting into service of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX). Such atmospheres occur when a mixture of air, gases, vapours, mists or dusts combine in a way that can ignite under certain operating conditions.

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).

Purpose

The ATEX directive lays down uniform, EU-wide rules on the sale and putting into service of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. It seeks to ensure that products fulfil certain requirements to ensure a high level of protection of the health and safety of persons, especially workers, and, where appropriate, the protection of domestic animals and property. It applies to a wide range of products, including equipment used on fixed offshore oil and gas platforms, in petrochemical plants, mines, flour mills (airborne flour particles are highly flammable) and other areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present.

Key Points

The directive defines the responsibilities of manufacturers, importers and distributors in the context of the sale of equipment and protective systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

All products on sale in the EU must bear the CE conformity marking to show that they meet all the essential safety requirements of EU legislation.

Before obtaining the CE marking, the manufacturer must conduct a safety and conformity assessment and establish technical documentation for products.

Importers must check that manufacturers have carried out conformity assessments correctly. Where this is not the case, they must inform the safety monitoring authority.

All necessary documentation must be recorded and kept for 10 years.

Documentation and safety information must be written in a language easily understood by end -users.

Manufacturers and importers must indicate their postal address on their products.

Manufacturers may use electronic means to provide the safety monitoring authorities with the information that is necessary to demonstrate a product’s conformity.
In addition, the directive specifies the steps to be taken by national authorities that monitor safety to identify and prevent the import of dangerous products from non-EU countries.

Application &  Background

From 20 April 2016. It repeals Directive 94/9/EC with effect from 20 April 2016.

The directive updates EU rules on the sale of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. This is part of the effort to modernise European law in a wide variety of industrial sectors so as to simplify the rules, reduce administrative burdens and establish clearer and more consistent rules.

See also the European Commission’s ATEX website.

References

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2014/34/EU

18.4.2014 Points 1 and 3 to 7 of Article 2, Article 4 and Annexes I, II, XI and XII apply from 20.4.2016

19.4.2016

OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, pp. 309-356.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 94/9/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 March 1994 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (Official Journal L 100, 19.4.1994, pp. 1-29).

 

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