For equipment supplied into the UK then a UK Declaration of Conformity is required but essentially it has the same requirements.
The Atex Directive uses an ‘attestation of conformity’ to affirm compliance to the Atex Directive, this is in the form of an EU Declaration of conformity (in place of the old EC declaration of conformity). A contract between the manufacturer and the customer under European law stating compliance to all relevant European directives.
It is a mandatory requirement as part of the CE marking, should be supplied with every Atex certified product1 and affirms the declaration signee and company have taken full responsibility for compliance, without it responsibility to prove compliance rests with the site.
The Atex Type certificate, which was the required evidence under the old 1994 Directive, is now only used to support the EU DoC and has minimal (if any) legal standing.
As shown here it is not uncommon to produce the EU declaration of conformity specifically for the Atex directive as a special case in addition to the standard EU declaration of conformity which would cover other relevant Directives such as EMC, Safety and LVD
For information to be included, the EU DoC, Atex Directive 2014/34/EU Annex X states:
Other optional information could be included such as type certificate numbers or excerpts from it but these are not mandatory and it must be noted that the signee is personally responsible, along with the company directors, for the compliance.
The manufacturer would support this with a Technical file with all relevant information, Type Certificates, drawings, power calculations etc. but this file would not normally be supplied to any client.
As a Notified Body Type certificates cannot be issued for Category 3 equipment the a Notified Body reference (number) cannot be included. In fact if the EU DoC reference number is used for the technical file then a type certificate number may not even be used.
One of the things which many in the industry fail to understand is that, since 2016 the Type certificate is for the Manufacturers evidence of testing by the Notified Body, their contractual (legal) obligation is to supply the EU DoC.
For Category 3 equipment the Type Certificate can be irrelevant assuming as all necessary certification information is supplied e.g. in the operating instructions/manual.
As this document is a legal entity enforceable under EU law, for companies not having a registered trading address the EU Declaration of Conformity (contract) is difficult to enforce as the manufacturer is not directly subject to EU laws.
In this case the company is first in line to legal responsibility for compliance is either the manufacturers authorised agent within the EU or the importer although they may not have control over the certification. EU rules are clear the company placing the product on the EU market is responsible to ensure compliance.
Not specifically mandated, within the directive, although implied, the end user should expect to have the manufacturers authorised agent or importer detailed on the EU declaration of conformity to ensure that in the event of non-compliance of the product that it is easily actioned within the EU law.
If the manufacturer is outside the EU and there is no EU based Authorised Agent in the event of an issue the end user would become the first in the litigation firing line as the manufacturer is not directly subject to EU law.
The potential problems are highlighted in the following scenario:
Non Compliance of product
Heavy fines can be imposed for non-compliance within the Hazardous Area or worse a serious incident could occur linked to a potentially non-compliant product.
Assuming the product is installed correctly with the scope of its certification then the EU DoC puts liability firmly back to the manufacturer.
If the manufacturer is outside the EU e.g. China then the regulatory bodies (or you) may be reluctant to prosecute under Chinese law. On the basis that everybody in the supply chain is potentially liable the end user and importer would have responsibility. However, should the manufacturer have an authorised representative (within the EU) then they would be first in the firing line.
For their own protection, it is recommended that end users look closely at any hazardous area equipment from a manufacturer outside the EU which does not have a legal address i.e. authorised representative within the EU. This now applies to UK companies supplying into the EU.
The EU Declaration of Conformity is often included in the product or installation manual. ↩