ATEX, IECEx and Co
Harmonising the Global Legislation for Explosion Protection
Since the BetrSichV came into force, the employer has been taking greater personal responsibility for safety. Revision and amendment of this set of rules is due to start soon, with the BetrSichV to be replaced by the “regulations for safety and health protection during the use of working equipment and the operation of installations“. While this puts more emphasis on obligations for the testing of working equipment, the requirements for the explosion protection document will in future be dealt with in the regulations for handling hazardous materials.
Overcoming Trade Barriers: International Explosion Protection Standards
During the last 20 years, there have been advances in dismantling trade barriers and also in a step-by-step harmonisation of operational safety regulations. Despite this development, the number of national explosion certificates worldwide has increased. While it was possible to market goods in many lands of the world with e.g. an Atex certificate in the past, a producer today must obtain as many as ten different explosion certificates for international sales.2832
In Europe, an Atex certificate is required, but in North America a certificate according to the American National Electrical Code (NEC) or the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) respectively is required. Other countries, such as Russia, China, India, Japan or Australia, likewise require their own explosion certificates.
Decisive Steps Towards Harmonisation of Safety Standards
“Decisive developments for the future are therefore the first steps being taken by the United Nations (UN/ECE) in Geneva towards harmonisation of national legislations for types, market introduction, and operation of explosion-protected devices,“ explains Gerold Klotz-Engmann, in charge of international product and installation safety at Endress+Hauser. The focus here is on norming according to IEC and ISO.
The new Atex guideline 2014/34/EU in the “New Legislative Framework (NLF)“ as a replacement for the EU guideline 94/9/EG is more clearly based on international rules, e.g. regarding conformity assessment procedure for recognition of conformity assessment bodies. The regulations to replace the BetrSichV will attempt to further reinforce the personal responsibility of the employer and put increasing emphasis on the use of technical regulations and the significance of norming documents.