Fortunately, explosions and flash fire accidents are not the most common causes of accidents at work. However, their consequences are 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 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 2014/34/EU on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. There is also a guideline available on Directive 2014/34/EU (the ATEX product directive) containing provisions for the person who makes products available on the market (e.g. manufacturer or distributor).
Published by: Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Publication date: October 2005
Number of pages: 132 pp.