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Explosion protection includes equipment and protective systems designed for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX), that are atmospheres which can become explosive due to the mixture with air of flammable substances in the form of gases, vapours, mists or dusts in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture. Equipment and systems which are essential to ensure the safety and health of workers endangered by explosive atmospheres are also considered to be part of the protection, as are the very measures taken to ensure safe operation and work in such atmospheres.

Explosion protection requirements

It is the duty of the state to protect, on its territory, the health and safety of persons, in particular workers, and, where appropriate, domestic animals and property, especially against the hazards resulting from the use of equipment and systems providing protection against potentially explosive atmospheres.

The products concerned may be placed on the market and put into service only if, when properly installed and maintained and also used in accordance with their intended use, they comply with the requirements of the Rules on explosion protection. The Rules also lay down requirements for the safety and health protection of workers who may be endangered by explosive atmospheres and measures for the safe operation and work in such atmospheres.

The requirements apply to the following products:

  • equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres;
  • safety devices, controlling devices and regulating devices intended for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres but required for or contributing to the safe functioning of equipment and protective systems with respect to the risks of explosion;
  • components intended to be incorporated in equipment and protective systems.

Conformity assessment

The conformity assessment procedures shall ensure the conformity of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres with the essential health and safety requirements.

The conformity of explosion prevention and protection measures is also assessed.

Notified bodies are bodies for the assessment of conformity of products covered by the Rules on explosion protection and are notified to the European Commission.