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ATEX Directive

ATEX refers to potentially explosive atmospheres. A potentially explosive atmosphere is composed by air mixtures of gases, vapours, mists or dusts, which can ignite under certain operating conditions.

The potential for explosive atmospheres can exist in a range of mainly industrial locations such as mines, factories, agricultural silos, and oil and gas platforms, water and other chemical processing environments. There is a wide range of products intended for use in such areas, including control equipment and sensors, transformers, fans, pumps, compressors, fork lift trucks, and lighting.

There are two European Directives, 94/9/EC (Product Directive) and 1999/92/EC (Use Directive).

The Product Directive applies to both electrical and mechanical equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. These include:

  • equipment and protective systems for use within potentially explosive atmospheres;
  • devices for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres, but which are required for, or contribute to the safe functioning of equipment and protective systems located inside such atmospheres; and
  • components relating to the above.

The Use Directive deals with the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres and requires an assessment to be carried out which “zones” the site by the potential of the atmosphere to explode.

Additional ATEX Design Directive Information