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Transfer of results from standardization in the field of protection against explosions to undustry especially Sme


Every year more than 2000 explosions of dust- and gas-air n1ixtures take place in the EC during the storage and handling of combustible goods. The aim of the European standardisation activities is to minimise these events. In 1989 the commission adopted the so called Machinery Directive (89/392/EEC) which included as Annex 1 the Essential Health and Safety Requirements relating to the design and construction of machinery. In addition to the more traditional hazards associated with mechanical and moving parts of machines. the Directive specifically requires that all machinery must be designed and constructed to avoid any risk of fire or explosion posed by the machine itself or by substances produced or used by the machine .
An additional Directive on equipment and protective systems inteIlded for use in potentially explosive atmosphere (94/9/EC), the so called ATEX 100 Directive was adopted in march 1994. This Directive applies to both electrical and mechanical equipment and protective systems which are placed on the mal-ket for use in potentially explosive atmospheres on the surface, below ground and on fixed offshore installations.
One of the major problems from a safety practitioner's point of view. is that the Commission makes a distinction between the design, construction and marketing of a piece of equipment and its use. The use of a piece of equipment comes under the worker and work place safety and is covered by a different set of Directives. The Commission is currently preparing a Directive (ATEX 118) on operations in potential explosive atmospheres, which includes definitions for the classification of hazardous areas depending on the likelihood of the occurrence of` an explosive atmosphere .
Electrical apparatus for use in potentially explosive gas, vapour and mist atmospheres have been type tested for many years in accordance with harmonised European standards. However, non electrical apparatus have only, up t.o now, had to be type-tested in Germany. Other European countries ensllre saie operation by placing the onus on the user of such equipment to ensure that it does not present an ignition sou}ce.
The distinction between design, construction and marketing ol` a piece of equipment and its use, the integration ol non electrical equipn1eIlts into the Directives and the partly change of test methods into more product specific test nlethods will be difficult to understand for manufacturer, especially the SME an(l the indust.ry without international trade.
The new reglllations will not help to reduce t:he explosion accidents without a special techrlology trallsfer and a transfer of the regulatiolls to industrial practise.


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