ATEX is an abbreviation for "ATmosphere EXplosible". and is the name commonly given to the two European Directives used to control hazardous areas explosive atmospheres. But when most people are talking about the Atex directive they generally mean the equipment directive.
Describes the minimum requirements for the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres and is therefore part dependant on the equipment directive and is key in its implementation.
The equipment directive(formerly 94/9/EC) Defines the requirements for equipment intended of use in potentially explosive atmospheres (p.e.a..) and is implemented by the 'The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2016'
The original Atex Directive 94/9/EC has been replaced by 2014/34/EU which became mandatory in April 2016
This new Atex directive does not directly affect the standards, but is about the legal standing bringing Atex into the EU New Legislative Framework (NLF).
Being Directive these are mandatory across all EU countries' and are implemented in the UK by The DSEAR regulation and provide the Legal Framework for the use of the European Atex Standards, primarily En 60079 and EN 80079.
Now the UK has left the EU, although Atex marking is is valid for the interim period (until end of 2021) any legal procedures i.e. enforcement, will cite UK not European law1 so the unanswered question is do you use a EU DoC or UK DoC when the equipment is Atex labelled.
Atex. As with most things legal in the UK, in the abscence of any specific instruction from the UK government it will be up to a court to interprete the acceptance of the the EU DoC..
It would be interesting to hear from the legal profession on this. ↩