ATEX is the European certification given to equipment fully tested and approved to be used in hazardous or explosive atmospheres. ATEX is derived from the term ‘ATmosphere EXplosibles’ and it is a mandatory certification for all products to be sold across Europe. This is different from IECEx, which is a globally recognized certification.
Why does that matter?
All electronic equipment has some risk of igniting - simply the combination of flammable substances, oxygen and the electric energy has the possibility of causing an explosion. If you’re working or spending a lot of time in explosive atmospheres, it’s important to keep your employees safe and healthy and to meet the regulations of your environment. Ensuring you’re using ATEX certified products can help you achieve this.
How do I know if a product is certified?
Each unit will also have the official 'Ex' logo on the label, ensuring you can trust that the ATEX certification is in place.
What are explosive atmospheres?
Explosive atmospheres are environments where there is a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapors, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture. Think petrol stations, certain types of factories or repair shops, or other industrial environments. If you’re not sure, you can conduct a Risk assessment to determine if hazardous areas exist and to then assign zones to those areas.
There are two European Directives in place for the control of explosive atmospheres:
- Directive 1999/92/EC (also known as 'ATEX 153' or the 'ATEX Workplace Directive')
- Directive 2014/34/EU (also known as 'ATEX 114' or 'the ATEX Equipment Directive')