ATEX 137 - Introduction

The ATEX 137 Workplace Directive 1999/92/EC (also known as the 'Use' Directive) is implemented in the UK by the Health and Safety Executive under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR).

Its objective is to establish and standardise minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers throughout Europe, who are potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.

The regulations came into full force on 30th June 2006 but many workplaces are still falling short of meeting the requirements of the ATEX 137 Directive more than 6 years later.

According to regulations, employers are required to take technical and/or organisational measures appropriate to the nature of the operation in accordance with three basic principles:

  • The prevention of the formation of explosive atmospheres OR, where the nature of the activity prevents that
  • The avoidance of the ignition of explosive atmospheres AND
  • The mitigation of the detrimental effects of an explosion so as to ensure the health and safety of workers

Organisational measures include training of workers, written instructions for work carried out in hazardous areas and permit to work systems.

Technical measures include proper selection, installation and maintenance of electrical and non-electrical equipment, taking into account the classification of the area in which the equipment is to be used. Click here for more information on classification of hazardous places.

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