ATEX zone determination is the process by which companies identify and classify the potentially hazardous areas in their facilities according to European directives ATEX 153 and ATEX 114.
These zones, also known as explosive environments, can be created by the presence of flammable substances such as gases, vapors, mists or powders. It is critical to determine and classify ATEX zones to ensure the safety of workers and equipment.
Explosions can have catastrophic consequences, including injury, damage to equipment and property, and even fatalities. For this reason, companies are required by law to perform ATEX zone determination and take appropriate measures to reduce risks.
Moreover, failure to comply with legal obligations can lead to fines, liability issues and reputational damage. By adhering to ATEX guidelines, you reduce the risk of financial, property and personal injury damage.
Companies can meet the legal requirements for ATEX zone determination by conducting a detailed risk analysis and assessment of their facilities.
This considers the presence of potentially explosive substances, ambient temperature, the presence of ignition sources and the physical properties of the space.
The zone can then be classified in a specific ATEX category to determine what measures should be taken. In fact, there are different classifications of ATEX zones.
Also read: ATEX meaning
The law does not prescribe a particular method for determining ATEX zones, so companies can use different methods to determine their ATEX zones. Below we will discuss some of the methods.
The ATEX 153 directive states that ATEX zones must meet certain safety requirements depending on the classification of the area. Many people argue that you can determine the ATEX zone based on ATEX 153, but that is not entirely correct.
This is because it is a guideline for safety requirements and measures to be taken for ATEX zones. Nevertheless, by means of the various ATEX classifications you can get an idea of in which category a certain zone can be classified:
|Explosion hazard||Persistent/multiple||Regularly||Sporadic/short term|
|By gas/vapor/mist||Zone 0||Zone 1||Zone 2|
|By flammable solids||Zone 20||Zone 21||Zone 22|
|Due to dust layers/accumulations||Zone 21||Zone 22||N/A.|
The NPR 7910 method is a widely used method for ATEX zone determination in the Netherlands. NPR 7910 is a Dutch code of practice developed to help companies determine ATEX zones in their facilities.
The method looks at the type of explosion hazard (gas or dust) and the frequency with time indication of operating time with respect to production equipment.
|ATEX zone classification||Type of explosion hazard||Frequency (Percentage)||Frequency (Hour criterion)|
|Zone 0||Gas explosion hazard||More than 10% of operating time||More than 1,000 hours per year|
|Zone 1||Gas explosion hazard||Between 0.1% and 10% of operating time||Between 10 and 1000 hours per year|
|Zone 2||Gas explosion hazard||Less than 0.1% of operating time||Less than 10 hours per year|
|Zone 20||Dust explosion hazard||More than 10% of operating time||More than 1,000 hours per year|
|Zone 21||Dust explosion hazard||Between 0.1% and 10% of operating time||Between 10 and 1000 hours per year|
|Zone 22||Dust explosion hazard||Less than 0.1% of operating time||Less than 10 hours per year|
According to the German literature, there is another factor to consider in ATEX zone determination. For example, not only is the frequency of the explosive atmosphere taken into account, but also the length of time the atmosphere persists:
|ATEX zone||Vertoning van gevaarlijke atmosfeer (jaarlijks)||Vertoning van gevaarlijke atmosfeer||Tijdsduur van gevaarlijke atmosfeer|
|Zone 0||Meer dan 1000 keer||Meer dan 3 keer per dag||Meer dan 10 uur|
|Zone 1||Tussen de 10 en 1000 keer||1 keer per maand tot 3 keer per dag||Tussen de 0,5 en 10 uur|
|Zone 2||Tussen de 1 en 10 keer||1 keer per jaar tot 1 keer per maand||Minder dan 0,5 uur|
When it comes to ATEX zone classification, various set requirements according to the ATEX guidelines will have to be met. Depending on the classification (0 to 2 or 20 to 22).
Measures that will always have to be taken are the installation of a suitable floor and the application of markings. This is because an ATEX zone must always be clearly identifiable and absolutely no electrostatic discharges must occur.
Hence, installing an ESD floor is crucial to ensure the safety of workers and equipment. In addition, floor markings will need to be installed to clearly designate the ATEX zone.
We at ICM Projects can help you install a quality ESD floor including floor lining. This way, work does not have to be shut down unnecessarily long, as everything is taken care of at once.
Curious about the possibilities? Contact us or make an appointment to visit our showroom. Little time? No worries, we can also visit you to discuss the possibilities on location.
Purchasing a company floor does not happen overnight. A good floor is only the basis for high work performance if you and your colleagues function optimally in it. For that simple reason, CEO Joost van Hulst makes sure every project runs smoothly every day. We get to the bottom of things for our clients. From administrative offices to hospitals. Ready to perform? The floor is yours.