What is ATEX? Introduction to ATEX and explosive atmospheres

Explosive atmospheres

You may be thinking what is ATEX and what is an explosive atmosphere? Explosive atmospheres can be caused by flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts. If there is enough of the substance, mixed with air, then all it needs is a source of ignition to cause an explosion.

Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as significant damage. Unfortunately, several accidents occur every year.  Preventing releases of dangerous substances, which can create explosive atmospheres, and preventing sources of ignition are two widely used ways of reducing the risk. Using the correct (explosion proof) equipment  can help greatly in this.

Employers must ensure a safe working environment and provide their employees with the right tools such as clothing and communication equipment to be able to perform their work safely in explosion-hazardous areas.

What is ATEX?

ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres. ATEX comes from the description of the hazardous materials in question, as written in French — “Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosives.” The translation into English reads, “Devices intended for use in explosive atmospheres.

The two directives are:

1) The ATEX 153 "workplace" Directive 1999/92/EC - Minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.

2)  The ATEX 114 "equipment" Directive 2014/34/EU - Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The aim of Directive 2014/34/EU is to allow the free trade of ‘ATEX’ equipment and protective systems within the EU by removing the need for separate testing and documentation for each member state. The text of the Directive and EU produced supporting guidelines are available on the EU website. 

So in summary: the ATEX 153 directive focuses on creating a safe working environment and ATEX 114 on the use of safe products in hazardous areas. In this perspective at ATEXphone.com you will find ATEX certified products for mobile communication such as explosion proof phones, ATEX smartphones and explosion proof cell phones. For your convenience, we also offer you a range of ATEX tablets from various renowned brands. Our portfolio consists of products for ATEX zones 1/21 and ATEX zone 2/22.

ATEX Zones

The level of danger of an explosive condition is classified in Zones in Europe or in the USA as Classes.

According to the ATEX workplace directive, workplaces must classify industrial plant and process areas where potentially explosive atmospheres can exist into “hazardous zones” on the basis of the frequency and duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere. The directives distinguish between two main types of explosive atmospheres: gas/vapour/mist and dusts.

The hazardous zones for these two types of explosive atmospheres according to ATEX are as follows:

Atex zones 1-21-2-22

We would like to refer to the special page about ATEX zones about the classification of explosion hazardous areas.