Equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX)

The European Union has adopted a law on the sale and putting into service of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX). Such atmospheres occur when a mixture of air, gases, vapours, mists or dusts combine in a way that can ignite under certain operating conditions.

ACT

Directive 2014/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (recast).

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS DIRECTIVE DO?

The ATEX directive lays down uniform, EU-wide rules on the sale and putting into service of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. It seeks to ensure that products fulfil certain requirements to ensure a high level of protection of the health and safety of persons, especially workers, and, where appropriate, the protection of domestic animals and property. It applies to a wide range of products, including equipment used on fixed offshore oil and gas platforms, in petrochemical plants, mines, flour mills (airborne flour particles are highly flammable) and other areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present.

KEY POINTS

The directive defines the responsibilities of manufacturers, importers and distributors in the context of the sale of equipment and protective systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

In addition, the directive specifies the steps to be taken by national authorities that monitor safety to identify and prevent the import of dangerous products from non-EU countries.

WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

From 20 April 2016. It repeals Directive 94/9/EC with effect from 20 April 2016.

BACKGROUND

The directive updates EU rules on the sale of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. This is part of the effort to modernise European law in a wide variety of industrial sectors so as to simplify the rules, reduce administrative burdens and establish clearer and more consistent rules.

See also the European Commission’s ATEX website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2014/34/EU

18.4.2014 Points 1 and 3 to 7 of Article 2, Article 4 and Annexes I, II, XI and XII apply from 20.4.2016

19.4.2016

OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, pp. 309-356.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 94/9/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 March 1994 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (Official Journal L 100, 19.4.1994, pp. 1-29).

last update 17.02.2015