With the end of 2016 rapidly approaching, it won’t be long before we’ll be watching and maybe even lighting fireworks. While we may enjoy the noise and the colourful lights of firework shows, explosions are definitely among the effects that we’re least keen on witnessing in industrial production processes.
To minimise the risk of such undesirable events occurring, industry is highly regulated with responsibilities for equipment suppliers laid down in machine directives and responsibilities of industrial employers anchored in the occupational health act. After all, if explosion protection goes wrong on an industrial scale, it goes wrong big time!
As our work sometimes involves the design of installations enveloping a potentially explosive atmosphere or the selection of equipment that is to be installed in a potentially explosive atmosphere, and because ATEX-regulations are regularly updated, Jos followed a two day ATEX Safety Expert training at U&D Industrial Safety Training to get in touch with the latest on explosion safety. Covering both the ATEX 114 – 2014/34/EU directive on equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres and the ATEX 153 – 1999/92/EU directive on the social mitigation of risks of working in potentially explosive atmospheres, and illustrated by examples of potentially explosive gas-mixtures and potentially explosive dust-air mixtures, the instructors presented a broad yet concise picture of the potential risks and means to mitigation.
Most notable lesson learned was that the area classification and hence the specification of the equipment to be installed in these areas is not merely a product of the potential emission source, but a product of the potential source and environmental aspects like ventilation: A very small, unlikely source of flammable gas or dust in a confined area may result in an ATEX classification for that area, with the associated add-on cost for equipment, whereas a larger, more probable leakage of a system, when located outside in the open, may not result in an ATEX area classification. This knowledge unlocks further potential to reduce cost for our clients.