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Non-binding guide to good practice for implementing Directive 1999/92/EC "ATEX" (explosive atmospheres)

Fortunately, explosions and flash fire accidents are not the most common causes of accidents at work. However, their consequences are spectacular and dramatic in terms of human lives lost and economic costs. Explosion hazards may arise in all undertakings which work with flammable substances. These include many input materials, intermediate products, final products and wastes from the routine work process.

The guide is primarily intended to assist Member States in drawing up their national policies for the protection of the health and safety of workers. Its aim is thus to enable the employer, particularly in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to perform the following explosion protection functions:

  • to identify hazards and assess the risks;
  • to lay down specific measures to safeguard the safety and health of workers at risk from explosive atmospheres;
  • to ensure a safe working environment and appropriate surveillance during the presence of workers in accordance with the risk assessment;
  • to take the necessary steps and make the necessary arrangements for coordination when several firms are operating at the same workplace;
  • and to produce an explosion protection document.

The manuscript of the guide was completed in April 2003. The guide to good practice should be used in conjunction with Directive 1999/92/EC (on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres), the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC and Directive 94/9/EC (on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres).

Information on manufacturing, market placement and service of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres can be drawn from the Guidelines on the practical application of Directive 94/9/EC which are intended to be a manual for all parties directly or indirectly affected by ATEX product Directive.

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