EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERE

The objective of the ATEX Directives is to prevent explosions and/or provide protection against them, establishing the employer’s obligations to achieve this.

As established by current regulations, employers must ensure the protection of the health and safety of their workers who may be exposed to risks arising from an explosive atmosphere, being the presence of flammable gases, vapours, mists or dusts with sufficient concentration in the environment in which, after ignition, combustion spreads to the unburned mixture.


 

Ensure prevention and protection against explosions. 

Evaluate the specific risks arising from potentially explosive atmospheres. 

Coordinate all work carried out in Explosion Risk Areas. 

Classify the Zones with Explosion Risk. (Zoning) 

Prepare an Explosion Protection Document. (DPE)

ATEX regulations

The three regulations that regulate the Prevention of Risks in Explosive Atmospheres are the following:

  • Law 31/1995 on the Prevention of Occupational Risks determines the basic body of guarantees and responsibilities for adequate protection of the health of workers in the workplace, leaving the development of regulatory standards to establish the minimum measures for adequate protection. (Art. 43 Law 31/1995 LPRL)
 
  • Royal Decree 400/1996 on equipment and protection systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres [Transposition of Directive 94/9/CE (ATEX-100)
 
  • Royal Decree 681/2003 on the protection of the health and safety of workers exposed to risks arising from the presence of explosive atmospheres in the workplace. Transposition of Directive 99/92/CE (ATEX-137)
 

Some activities of certain companies are carried out within these conditions. The most affected industries are of the type:

  • Chemical (flammable products). 
  • Food (flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, milk powder). 
  • Pharmaceutical products. 
  • Agriculture (fertilizers). 
  • Wood (sawdust). 
  • Treatment of metals (Aluminum, Titanium, Magnesium). 
  • Wastewater treatment plants (Digestors). 
  • Waste treatments. 
  • Gas supply. 
  • Laundries and dry cleaners (flammable liquids).