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 making, 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
By definition the EU Declaration of Conformity is only valid for equipment supplied in to the EU but should still accepted during the Brexit transition period.
For equipment supplied into the UK then a UK Declaration of Conformity is required but essentially it has the same requirements.
For information to be included, the Atex Directive 2014/34/EU Annex X states:
Signed for and on behalf of:
(place and date of issue):
(name, function) (signature)
Note: THe EU DoC is a generic document usually tying up with a specific Type Certificate and therefore as long as the products are identified in line with the Type Certificate e.g. using family names or range of part numbers, then such information as serial numbers do not need to be included.
Other optional information could be included such as type certificate numbers or excerpts from it but these are not mandator 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 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 fist 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 market is responsible to ensure compliance.
Not mandatory 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 AuthorisedAgent 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 liabilty 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.
The EU Declaration of Conformity often included in the product or installation manual. ↩