ATEX/DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES AND EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERE REGULATIONS (DSEAR)
What is it? Derived from the French ATmospheres EXplosibles, Directive 1999/92/EC (commonly referred to as ATEX 137) has been introduced into European safety legislation since the year 2000 and is currently implemented via:
S.I. No. 299 Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 in Ireland;
Statutory Rule No.152 Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) (NI) 2003 in Northern Ireland;
Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR) 2002 in the UK.
The ultimate objective of the regulations is to outline the minimum requirements to protect and improve the health and safety of personnel who may be at risk from explosive atmospheres. Consequently, the Directive requires companies to demonstrate that they have, by means of a suitable risk assessment, both organizational and technical measures in place to effectively control explosion risks.
In addition, a second relevant directive must be considered when performing assessments. ATEX Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ATEX 95 or the ATEX equipment directive). This applies to equipment (electrical or mechanical) and protective systems, which may be used in potentially explosive atmospheres created by the presence of flammable gases, vapors, mists or dusts.
What is required? In order to comply with ATEX Directives, DSEAR Regulations or relevant local regulations, an employer must:
Understand the flammable properties of the materials handled;
Have effective technical and organisational measures to eliminate or reduce the size of flammable atmospheres;
Undertake a documented area classification to identify and manage flammable areas;
Perform a comprehensive ignition risk assessment including an electrostatics assessment. This assessment should also consider other technical measures relating to equipment suitability, for example dust extraction and collection systems, and associated explosion protection relief and isolation. The objective of the assessment is to be able to demonstrate a hierarchy of control and to generate a clearly defined Basis of Safety;
Select appropriately certified new equipment or retrospectively assess equipment brought into first use before July 2003;
Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances;
Provide suitable information and training to employees, so those persons can demonstrate adequate and suitable levels of competence and awareness. Thereby making sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances;
Finally, when the above measures are in place an Explosion Protection Document should be prepared which should be verified by a person competent in the field of fire and explosion hazards.
LAWLOR TECHNOLOGY LTD. Lackaghmore, Athenry, Co Galway, Ireland