All you need to know about ATEX: Safety first

Guidelines for companies and products in potentially explosive atmospheres

ATEX stands for "ATmosphères EXplosibles" and is a set of European directives that regulate safety regulations for explosive environments. These directives are important for companies working in or supplying products to industries where explosion hazards are a constant concern, such as the chemical, oil and gas sectors. They help prevent both human and material losses by setting strict requirements for equipment and work practices. In this blog we cover the basics of ATEX, investigate when these guidelines apply, which products fall under the ATEX standards, and how these products can be certified. We also discuss the different types of ATEX directives that are relevant to your business operations.

What is ATEX? 

The term ATEX refers to two important EU directives that are specifically aimed at avoiding explosions and increasing safety in places where explosive atmospheres may occur. These directives require that all equipment and protective systems used in such environments meet strict safety standards. They ensure a harmonization of safety regulations within the European market, making it easier for companies to comply with international safety requirements. Understanding these guidelines is very important for manufacturers, importers and users of such equipment.

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When does ATEX apply? 

ATEX applies in any environment where a mixture of air and flammable substances such as gases, vapors or dust can create an explosive atmosphere. This is relevant not only for the petrochemical industry, but also for sectors such as agriculture, textiles and even food processing where particulate matter can cause explosions. Companies operating in these environments must conduct a risk analysis and take appropriate safety measures. The ATEX directives provide a framework for identifying risks and implementing effective safety strategies.

Which products require the ATEX directive? 

Products covered by the ATEX directives include all equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres. This ranges from electrical devices such as switches and power controllers to mechanical systems such as fans and pumps. Even non-electrical equipment such as filters and silos may fall under these standards if used in hazardous environments. It is important that manufacturers of such equipment closely follow ATEX compliance procedures to ensure safety and legal compliance.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is indispensable in work areas with explosion hazards and therefore also falls under the ATEX directive. They are specifically designed to protect workers from the hazards of explosive atmospheres, such as sudden ignition of gases, vapors or dust. Typical PPE for such environments includes anti-static work clothing, explosion-proof hard hats, eye protection, and special safety shoes that minimize the build-up of static electricity. 

How do you arrange certification of products according to ATEX?

Arranging certification of products under the ATEX directive requires a precise process that starts with the design and manufacture of the product. The product must be tested by an accredited Notified Body to ensure that it complies with the relevant ATEX standards. This process usually involves both laboratory testing and practical applications to verify the product's safety in explosive environments. Once the product has been approved, it will receive a unique certificate certifying compliance with the ATEX directive.

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What is the difference between ATEX 144 and ATEX 153?

There are two main types of ATEX directives: ATEX 114 (Directive 2014/34/EU) which covers equipment and protective systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, and ATEX 153 (Directive 1999/92/EC) which concerns the safety of workers in such areas. environments. ATEX 114 ensures that all products used in potentially explosive atmospheres are thoroughly tested and meet strict European safety standards. ATEX 153 requires employers to carry out a thorough risk analysis and take adequate measures to ensure safety in the workplace. Taking these guidelines into account together ensures a comprehensive approach to explosion safety, from production to daily use on the work floor.

Which ATEX zones exist?

ATEX zones are specifically classified environments where there is a risk of explosion due to the presence of flammable gases, vapours or dust. These zones are classified based on the probability and duration of the presence of an explosive atmosphere. There are three main types of zones: Zones 0, 1 and 2 for gases and vapors, and Zones 20, 21 and 22 for dust. Zones 0 and 20 indicate areas where an explosive atmosphere is present continuously or for prolonged periods, while Zones 1 and 21 are locations where an explosive atmosphere is likely during normal operations. Zones 2 and 22 are areas where an explosive atmosphere is not likely and, if it does occur, will only be temporary. These classifications help determine the appropriate safety measures and equipment needed to control and minimize the risks.





An area where an explosive gas atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods of time.

Areas in chemical plants or oil refineries where gases are continuously released.


An area where an explosive gas atmosphere is likely during normal operations.

Workstations in the oil and gas industry where leaks can occur. 


An area where an explosive gas atmosphere is not likely and will only last for a short time.

Storage areas where flammable liquids are kept, but where leaks are unlikely. 


An area where an explosive dust atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods.

Inside dust collectors used in woodworking facilities. 


An area where an explosive dust atmosphere is likely during normal operations.

Areas near grain or powder processing equipment. 


An area where an explosive dust atmosphere is not likely and will last only a short time.

Areas where dust can accumulate occasionally and for short periods of time. 



Compliance with ATEX directives plays a crucial role in protecting both workers and the operational environment in industries with a risk of explosions. These guidelines set clear requirements for the safety practices that companies must follow, which contributes to overall safety and compliance. By taking these regulations seriously and implementing them correctly, companies can not only meet legal obligations, but also create a safer working environment for their staff.

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