ATEX Inspections

Hazardous Areas

Ensuring completion of your hazardous area ATEX inspections (ATEX 137 directive) and demonstrating compliance with the DSEAR regulations(BS EN 60079-17 standard) is essential to improve the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres and provide a safe workplace.

ATEX Inspections Hazardous Areas

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What is ATEX?

ATEX is an abbreviation for ” ATmosphere EXplosible”. At the same time, ATEX is the abbreviated name of the European Directive 94/9/EC concerning the placing on the market of explosion-proof electrical and mechanical equipment, components and protective systems. This directive came into force on 1st  July 2003, and all new equipment and protective systems have been subject to it since then. The transitional period allowed for the conversion of existing equipment that was manufactured and put into operation prior to 1 July 2003 expired with effect from 1 July 2006. This means that such equipment must also be fully compliant with ATEX 94/9/EC from 1 July 2006 onwards.

The ATEX directive places responsibility on employers to control or eliminate the risks arising from operations that may contain potentially explosive atmospheres and to ensure that their employees have a safe place of work. Employers must also be able to demonstrate that they have taken into  consideration the risk for the overall protection safety measures and must provide evidence for any explosion protection measure that is implemented. In order to verify compliance and the integrity of electrical explosion protection safety equiment and measures, the international standard IEC 60079-17 provides guidance in order to inspect and maintain all electrical equipment within a hazardous ATEX area.

Hazardous Area Inspection Types

There are 2 types of Hazardous Area Inspections

1. Initial Inspections

To ensure the correct type of protection is appropriate for the hazardous area installation, an initial inspection is required to enable a BS 60079-17 Detailed certificate to be issued.

2. Periodic Inspections

Periodic inspections need to be carried out as part of the overall maintenance and applies to existing installations. The periodic inspection will identify any change and/or deterioration and should not exceed 3 years. Dependant on interval and requirements a BS 60079-17 visual or close inspection report would be issued.

Hazardous Area Inspection Grades:

There are 3 grades of Hazardous Area Inspections:

1. Visual Hazardous Area Inspections

Visual hazardous area inspections identify without the use of access equipment or tools, those defects, such as missing bolts, visible damage etc. which will be apparent to the eye.

2. Close Hazardous Area Inspections

Close hazardous area inspections encompasses those aspects covered by a visual inspection, and in addition, identifies those defects, such as loose bolts, which will be apparent only by the use of access equipment, and tools. Close inspections do not require the enclosure to be opened, or the equipment to be isolated.

3. Detailed Hazardous Area Inspections

Detailed hazardous area inspections will encompass those aspects covered by a close inspection and, in addition, identify those defects, such as loose connections, which will only be apparent by opening the enclosure. These inspections require the enclosure to be opened, equipment to be isolated and opening of cable glands, as per the BS60079-17 Inspection & Maintenance Standards.

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