What does this mean in practice and precise terms for the firms affected? The constantly changing and complex landscape of laws and regulations in the area of explosion protection raises many questions regarding legal, technical and organisational responsibilities. These include e.g. subjects such as ignition source analysis and assessment, hazard assessment, zone classification, correct production of the explosion protection document and also adequate test and maintenance concepts for explosion hazard installations. On top of this come fundamental questions regarding interaction with other firms, installations with monitoring requirements, and the naming of “authorised persons“ in explosion protection.
“Only by means of an intensive exchange of experience within the relevant bodies, such as the Namur and the DKE as well as in international mirror committees, will it be possible for the firms involved to keep abreast of the state-of-the-art technologies and, at the same time, to influence further developments in norming and legislation“, says Christoph Thust, in charge of technical installation safety at Evonik Industries.
Quo Vadis, Explosion Protection?
After 20 years of Atex regulations, the safety standards in place in the member states of the EU are higher than ever before. These achievements, however, can only be the basis for further international harmonisation in order to transport this proven level of safety to all parts of the world. The chances are good that this aim can be achieved via international organisations such as the IEC, IECEx, ISO, the WTO and the UN. The certificates issued by the international IECEx systems, which today has over 30 member countries, have so far received legal recognition only in Australia and New Zealand. Looking into the future, Klotz-Engmann therefore still sees an obvious need for action: “More states must accept these certificates for the market introduction of explosion protected devices in order to enable the international application of explosion protection regulations.“
* * D. Markus and U. Klausmeyer work for the Federal Physical/Technical Institute (PTB), C. Thust works for Evonik Industries AG, and G. Klotz-Engmann works for Endress+Hauser.