what is an explosive atmosphere? An explosive atmosphere (ATEX) is a safety zone classification for environments in which flammable gases, vapours, dusts or fumes are present or likely to form such as a laboratory. These zones are defined by the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU.
What are the risks associated with explosive atmospheres? An explosive atmosphere results from a mixture of combustible substances (flour, wood dust, solvent vapours, etc.) with air in such proportions that an ignition source of sufficient energy causes it to explode. An explosive atmosphere can cause fires and/or explosions, resulting in significant injury and material damage. On average, one explosion occurs every day in the industrial sector in France. The effects can be devastating, both in human and material terms. Sectors where chemicals or high levels of dust are handled (woodworking, metalworking, food processing, laboratories, etc.) are particularly concerned.
Regulations Prevention of the risk of explosion is covered by specific regulations, known as ATEX regulations. Two European directives apply to users and manufacturers in areas where there is a risk of explosion: Requirements aimed at improving the health and safety protection of workers who may be exposed to the risk of an explosive atmosphere.