Explosion-proof work: the new ATEX rules

08/07/2016

Explosion-proof work: the new ATEX rules

Changes in the field of explosion-proof work. Not only the new ATEX 114 Directive 2014/34 / EU is in force. Also some new standards have been delivered for non-electrical equipments.

On July 1, 2003 the European Union launched the ATEX 95 and ATEX 137 directive (a directive to protect workers at risk from explosive atmospheres).

The ATEX 95 defines the conditions to which equipment (both electric and non-electric) must meet if it is used in an explosive environment.

Both directives aim to ensure the safety and health of workers in potentially explosive atmospheres. ATEX 95 was above contribute to the free trade within the E.U. for equipment and protective systems used in potentially explosive atmospheres. Since the launch of the European regulations, there have been no significant changes.

But that is now changing, because on April 20, 2016, the ATEX 95 is replaced by the ATEX 114 Directive 2014/34/EU. Major differences with the previous directive are not there, because to achieve the main objective of the amendment still consists in conformity with the European founding Treaty of Lisbon, in which new agreements were made on the placing on the European market of equipment.

The biggest changes are situated in the certification and the "paperwork" which are primarily of interest for the manufacturers and importers. Nevertheless, it is important that the maintenance department is aware of the meaning of the adjustments, mainly from the new informations on the labels. Finally the ATEX137 remains completely unchanged, but to ATEX 153 will be renamed.

New standards
In line with the new ATEX has also been launched this year a new norm for explosion-proof mechanical equipment: ISO / IEC 80079-36 / 37 (replacing the European standard EN 13463).

Again, it is mainly the labeling adapted. Thus, the protection methods will "c" (constructional safe), 'k' (oil filling) and 'b' (control of ignition sources) now are marked with the letter 'h'.

We also see more and more of a link with the "Equipment Protection Level", abbreviated EPL. Specifically, the label is for Category 1, 2 and 3 material - for gasexplosieve environments respectively indicated with 1G, 2G and 3G - supplemented by the code Ga, Gb and Gc.

For dust explosive environments, this is analogous but with a D in place of a G. In addition, there are currently several small changes of substance. "

Competency certificates
Not new and not yet mandatory, the IECEx 05 is a certification that shows that staff that designs Ex equipment, install, inspect or maintain demonstrably competent to carry out these tasks.

It is a personal certification is awarded by an independent organization after an examination and approval of the proof that the person in question does indeed have the necessary experience.

It will be great (especially petrochemicals) companies increasingly more often such a certificate requirements. The IECEx 05 will (already is) eventually become commonplace for all projects in hazardous areas.

That's maybe not for tomorrow, because there is currently some confusion about what is a 'proof' of experience and some starters will be doing in the sector to achieve the certificate.

Installers and maintenance people are recommended to get certified already. After all, companies want to hedge up as they carry subcontractors work. So it seems logical that an increasing number of customers will start asking for the IECEx 05.

Questions about maintenance
ATEX does not stop when selecting and installing equipment. These systems need to be maintained properly and repaired if necessary.

So few know exactly how it sits with electrically controlled Ex equipment or components who may service or repair? Or should this work be done by a specialized service provider or installer?

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