Skip to main content

Transfer of results from standardisation in the field of protection against explosions to industry, especially sme


Objectives and strategic aspects:

The main objective of standardisation in areas of explosion protection is the reduction of the risk of accidents. But a significant gap appears between the generation of standards and the transfer of the results to industry, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

In an effort to reduce this gap, a European Thematic Network, funded under the Standards, Measurement and Testing Programme has been developed. The network is called TREX, and its aim is to encourage exchange of information between industrial enterprises, such as manufacturers, processors, and service providers, and legislative bodies, research organisations and information outlets so that knowledge on all aspects of standards in the area of explosion hazards becomes as widely disseminated as possible, leading to rapid adoption.

TREX has been designed to provide extensive opportunities i.e.:
* keep abreast of new legislation and standards and how they will affect you,
* discuss safety problems by a help-line,
* find out about the new ideas from the results of standardisation and explaining the ideas by using a brochure,
* learning from experts by direct contact in seminars.
The TREX Internet site is at: -> EC-Projects -> TREX
network activities have included:
* publishing all seminar papers in different languages on Internet,
* offering an electronic brochure on a CD-ROM and on Internet
* arranging national seminars
* establishing a help-line

The main work after the period of funding will be to actualise the documents publish on the web-site if possible free of charge. This will be possible by the co-operation with SAFETYNET.
It is said that in Europe alone, in one year, there are more than 2000 explosion during the storage and handling of combustible materials; 20 accidents per month involving runaway reactions; on average, one large fire a day with a loss of more than 80000 Euro. For example, statistical data show that on average it occurs one dust explosion per day in Germany causing a damage of more than EURO 25 000. The relevant industries where these explosions occur are shown in the following table.

wood 32%
plastics 13%,
metal 13%,
pharmaceutics and other products 6%.

It is therefore important that industries handling explosive products are aware of the explosion problem and the possible preventive and protection measures.

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 intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (94/9/EC), the so-called ATEX 95 Directive was adopted in March 1994. This Directive applies to both electrical and mechanical equipment and protective systems, which are placed on the market for use in potentially explosive atmospheres on the surface, below ground and on fixed offshore installations.

The goal of the European standardisation is to remove barriers from free trade. However, issuing new standards is not enough. The manufacturer has to know about these standards and to know about the philosophy of the standards. In the field of fire and explosion protection the new standards have major changes in comparison with the old national standards, because the new standards are relevant for products. To get rid of trade barriers within the Community, it is necessary to transfer the results and the philosophy of the regulations, which is the objective of the network.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


5,Wilhelmstraße 2
59067 Hamm

Participants (7)

38,Fantoftveien 38
5892 Bergen
Conratec Srl
Via Abate D'adda 87
20043 Arcore Milano
Forschungsgesellschaft für AngewandteSystemsicherheit und Arbeitsmedizin eV
Dynamostraße 7-9
68165 Mannheim
Inburex Ltd.
United Kingdom
6,Moorhead Court
SO14 3GQ Southampton
Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques
Parc Technologique Alata
60550 Verneuil-en-halatte
Laboratorio Oficial Jose Maria de Madariaga
28003 Madrid
StuVex N.V.
2550 Kontich