Directive 94/9/EC concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use with potentially explosive atmospheres. OJ of the European Communities. The Stationery Office (0171 873 9090). 32 page pamphlet. £10.25.
ATEX regulations are voluntary up until 30June 2003, after which they become mandatory and replace existing CENELEC and IEC regulations.
Manufacturers of electrical equipment and non-electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas will be interested in this document, which sets out the full scope of the Directive and its intended use.
Conformity assessment procedures are explained for the different categories of use, which are divided broadly into mining and process plant areas.
Explosions that can be caused by air/dust mixtures as well as hazardous gases are among those covered by this publication.
Requirements in respect of safety-related devices also make essential reading, particularly with respect to IEC1508 (which is not referenced). ATEX, which will supersede the voluntary IEC document, says that safety devices must function independently of any measurement and control devices, and that fail-safe electrical circuits should be used.
It also covers: control and display units; requirements for devices for a measuring function for explosive protection; risks arising from software; hazards arising from power failure; and connections and placing of warning devices as parts of equipment.
Considerable controversy surrounds the mandatory nature of this document and the cancellation of parallel signing with agreement to IEC standards. See C&I News and News Analysis for coverage of some of these points.