The EU ATEX Directives
These effect the supply and use of equipment in potentially flammable atmospheres (ATmosphere EXplosive) throughout Europe.
Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 100a)
Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 100a) directs “on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres” full directive by the EC
The Directive was implemented into UK law by “The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996” (SI 1996/192), and in Northern Ireland by “The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996” (SR 1996/247).
Manufacturers were given the option of complying with the Regulations or with health and safety provisions respectively in force in GB or NI on 23 March 1994 (the date of adoption of the Directive) during a transition period up to 1 July 2003. (from DTI guide).
Directive 99/92/EC (ATEX 118a or ATEX 137)
Directive 99/92/EC (ATEX 118a or ATEX 137) “minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres” full directive by the EC.
For the 3 years running up to 1 July 2006 it was permissible for workplace installations which had not suffered any incidents, to continue to use existing equipment as long as no modification or replacement with new equipment took place.
Many landfill operators made us of this relaxation of the regulations. These same companies have updated their DSEAR Risk Assessments subsequently and have often, in the experience of the author, continued to rely on this relaxation. In 2019, it really is stretching the requirements to continue to use the very same equipment.
Where modified or new equipment has been provided during the transition period 2003 to 30 June 2006, the full ATEX/ DSEAR requirements have always applied.
ATEX Explained from Other Sources
Equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, by the EC.
Enterprise & Industry: Guidelines on the application of Directive 94/9/EC by the EC.
ATEX Directive 94/9/EC by the UK DTI. (NB: Using their search facility will reveal many more pages.)
ATEX European Directives by HSE – General Guide, and FAQs page.
IEC Scheme for Certification to Standards relating to equipment for use in explosive atmospheres (IECEx Scheme).
Confined Spaces Definitions (United Kingdom H&S Regulations)
There are two commonly used definitions:-
1. The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997
In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires –
“confined space” means any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk;
2. HSE Web Site
A confined space is a place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen).