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ATEX Directive 94/9/EC :
The 'Directive on Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres' (94/9/EC) entered into force on 1 March 1996.Â The DirectiveÂ is commonly referred to as the 'ATEX' Directive ('ATmospheres EXplosibles'), but may also be called the ATEX Equipment Directive or ATEX 95. The Directive applies to electrical and/or mechanical equipment used on the surface, below the ground and on fixed offshore installations.
Specifically, the Directive Covers :
All equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres and which are capable of causing an explosion through their own potential sources of ignition. Protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Protective systems are defined as units which are intended to halt incipient explosions immediately and/or to limit the effective range of explosion flames and explosion pressures Components, which are defined as any item essential to the safe functioning of equipment and protective systems, but with no autonomous function.
ATEX Groups and Categories :
Equipment and Products that fall within the scope of the Directive are divided into two Groups :Â
- Group I : comprises equipment intended for use in mines, above and below ground.
- Group II :comprise equipment intended for use in other locations endangered by explosive atmospheres.
Equipment and Products in each Group are divided into Categories based on the level of protection required.
ATEX Zones :
In addition to the ATEX DirectiveÂ 94/9/EC, whichÂ covers the safety requirements for equipment to be used inÂ potentially explosive atmospheres, there is an additional European ATEX Directive, 99/92/EC.Â Â This is also known as the 'ATEX Workplace Directive' or 'ATEX 137' and highlights what employers must do to minimize the risk to workers from explosive atmospheres. ATEX 137 also classifies hazardous areas where an explosive atmosphere could form, by type of hazard.