• ATEX in plant engineering

ATEX in plant engineering – responsibility and liability at a glance

Being valid since April 2016, the ATEX Directive still raises numerous questions to plant manufacturers and operators. The equipment must not only be clearly compatible but also fulfill particular requirements with regards to explosion protection. Since it covers important issues such as responsibility and liability, we give you the following overview of relevant parameters for the selection of equipment that are to fulfill the requirements of your plants. So read more about ATEX in plant engineering.

1. Clear terms provide certainty for comparison and selection

Machinery-type or plant equipment that receive a EU Declaration of Conformity bear a certain marking. How is it structured and which important information does it give?

The marking in detail:

Equipment group (overview):

Group I: Devices for use in mining/open-cast mining/underground mining

Group II: Devices for use in potentially explosive dust and gas atmospheres

Equipment category:

Classification according to the probability of occurrence of the explosive atmosphere (frequency and duration: always, frequently, rarely, briefly).

Ignition protection type:

For ex. suitable encapsulation

Explosion group / substance group:

Gas / dust

Temperature classes:

From T1 (ignition temperature > 450°C) through to T6 (ignition temperature > 85°C ... ≤ 100°C)

The documentation of these parameters represents an important basis for investment and purchase decisions that take into account occupational safety and health care that fall within the obligations inherent with management responsibility.

2. Essential: Some of your obligations as plant operator

As a plant operator you have to check the following parameters and use them as a basis for the operation/new erection/extension of a plant:

  • Which atmosphere prevails in your plant?
  • Which media or substances flow in your plant?
  • Which potential ignition sources exist in your plant?
  • Is the energy of a potential ignition source sufficient to provoke an explosion?
  • How distant from each other are ignition sources and „explosive or dangerously explosive atmospheres“ or „explosive mixtures“ and „combustible materials“ (assessment of the igniti-on energy)?

These are the criteria to consult when you assess the marking of required plant components. Be particularly critical with regards to suppliers and their offers.

Selection criterion should be in this case: the concordance between the determined necessary marking and the quotation for building components of a manufacturer.

3. Responsibility and liability

With the increasing number of rules and regulations that have even more complex contents, the risks for liability tend to escalate. Always bear in mind the huge consequences that the event of a damage might entail: personal injuries as worst case, immense material damage, trade associations and the state prosecutor threaten to get involved ...

Trust is good – the EU Declaration of Conformity is much better in this case. Manufacturers who can offer this take liability risks away from you and let you sleep more calmly.

This is a summary of your obligations:

  • According to the rules, you as plant operator must define your potentially explosive atmospheres/ zones either by yourself or with external help.
  • As plant operator you are responsible for the selection of suitable plant equipment.
  • Therefore, it is very important for you as a plant operator that only devices are installed which are intended to be operated in the EX zone determined by you. Recognizable by the directive-compliant CE marking and the EU Declaration of Conformity.

Selecting a equipment manufacturer of plant devices with pertaining evidences protects you from risks. Even if the price is a bit higher - quality gives you sovereignty on the market!

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