What is a hazardous area?
Explosive atmospheres can be caused by flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts. Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as significant damage.
The more present a flammable substance is; the more hazardous the area becomes. An area that presents gas can be divided into the following:-
Zone 0: > 1000 hours/year (where an explosive atmosphere is continuously present, or present for long periods.)
Zone 1: 10 to 1000 hours/year (where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation.)
Zone 2: < 10 hours/year (where an explosive atmosphere is unlikely to occur in normal operation and if it does occur, it will only exist for a short time.)
What is ATEX?
ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:
Directive 99/92/EC (also known as 'ATEX 137' or the 'ATEX Workplace Directive') on the minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. The text of the Directive and the supporting EU produced guidelines are available on the EU website. For more information on how the requirements of the Directive have been put into effect in Great Britain please see the information in the section on Equipment and protective systems intended for use in explosive atmospheres.
Directive 94/9/EC (also known as 'ATEX 95' or 'the ATEX Equipment Directive') on the approximation of the laws of Members States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The text of the Directive and EU produced supporting guidelines are available on the EU website. For more information on how the requirements of the Directive have been put into effect in Great Britain please see the section on Selection of equipment and protective systems.
Electrical equipment markings
Compliance with the ATEX Directive is a legal requirement in all European Union Member States since 1st July 2003. All equipment manufactured for use in Hazardous Areas must be ATEX certified in order to carry the ‘CE Mark’. (CE marking is a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the appropriate provisions of the relevant legislation implementing certain European Directives.) Equipment which is fully compliant with the relevant standards will also include the Hexagon symbol. The affixing of this symbol enables the equipment to be sold and installed freely in Europe.