ATEX stands for ATmosphères EXplosibles. To prevent gas and dust explosions, European directives have been drawn up that apply over and above national legislation. The legislation for ATEX consists of two directives: ATEX 114 Directive and ATEX 153 Directive. These directives are established at European level and oblige employers to ensure that where explosive atmospheres may occur, safe working conditions are provided.

In the (Petro)chemical industry, flammable raw materials and gases may be encountered during processing, transfer, or cleaning. These raw materials and gases may come into contact with a potential ignition source, for example, electrical machinery, hot surface, but also by a mechanical spark. To prevent these risks, technical and organizational safety measures should be taken.

ATEX 114 directive (2014/34/EU) describes the minimum safety requirements that EX devices must meet, which is why the directive is also called the ATEX Production Directive. In the Netherlands, this directive can be found in the ‘Commodities Act Decree Explosion-safe Material’ and in Belgium it can be found in the Royal Decree. The ATEX 114 directive applies to manufacturers of materials and equipment that are suitable for use where there is a risk of explosion.

ATEX 153 (1999/92/EC) describes the minimum safety requirements to prevent explosion hazards in a working environment, so that employees can carry out their work safely. These safety requirements are considered step by step during all processes that occur in a company. The ATEX 153 directive is included in the Working Conditions Decree. Employers must therefore take stock of the risks following this directive and, if necessary, mark the hazardous areas and record this in the Explosion Safety Document (ESD).

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