What is ATEX?

ATEX is a set of European Directives relating to Hazardous Area Installations. It spells out a set of Health & Safety Requirements (EHSR) which when followed should enable everyone in the industry to operate safely and without incident. Two seperate Directives have been introduced covering Equipment (94/9/EC) and Safety of Working Operations (1999/92/EC)
ATEX Directives was introduced on March 1, 1996. It became mandatory on July 1, 2003. It is now necessary for all products placed on the market or put into use to comply with the ATEX Directive, even if only intended for use in the country of origin.

Why was it introduced?

It was adopted by the European Union (EU) to facilitate free trade in the EU by aligning the technical and legal requirements in the member states for products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres within the EC. It requires manufacturers to adhere strictly to the latest European Normatives (EN Standards) in respect of design construction & certification.
Equipment that complies with the ATEX Directive can be marked with the 'Distinctive Community Mark', this mark is required to ensure that the equipment will be accepted in all Member State countries and be permitted for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres.
The possible implications of failing to comply with the new European Directives, both financially and in terms of injury and death (not to mention the damage to your company’s reputation) justify the effort involved in obtaining the correct approvals.
All existing equipment will have to be re-certified to the ATEX Directive if the manufacturer wishes to continue selling it within Europe.

What does it apply to?

The Directive covers equipment and protective systems, which may be used in areas endangered by potentially explosive atmospheres created by the presence of flammable gases, vapours, mists or dusts. The Directive covers both electrical and mechanical equipment.
It covers a surprisingly large range of equipment, potentially including equipment used on fixed offshore platforms, in petrochemical plants, mines, flourmills and other areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present.

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