ATEX and IECEx – The latest Developments from Europe and in International Certification

Jan 15 2015

Author: Ron Sinclair on behalf of SGS Baseefa

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Both within Europe and internationally, the requirements for equipment and installations in hazardous areas continue to develop.  We are looking forward to the new ATEX Directive and what it will mean for manufacturers and purchasers of Ex Equipment as well as celebrating the success and developments in the International IECEx Certification System.  Crystal Ball gazing shows the two currently separate schemes coming together.

The New ATEX Directive – Why and What?

Earlier in 2014 we received the text of the new ATEX Directive.  2014/34/EU will replace 94/9/EC from 20th April 2016.  Why have we got a new directive and what does it mean for manufacturers and purchasers of ATEX Equipment?

It is important to realise that this is part of a general rationalisation of legislation within the European Union.  In 2008, the European Commission published what is known as the “New Legislative Framework” (NLF).  The intent is to rationalise a number of separate directives so that identical requirements are expressed in identical ways, and to clarify some of the issues that have caused queries over the years.

Formal EU Definition of a Notified Body
Notified bodies are conformity assessment bodies which have been officially designated by their national authority to carry out the procedures for conformity assessment within the meaning of applicable Union harmonisation legislation when a third party is required.
However, probably the most significant aspect is that the Commission have admitted that the arrangement for accepting Notified Bodies has been far from ideal.  Each European member state has been responsible for setting its own guidelines for the notification process but, for the NLF based directives, a common framework, based on formal accreditation, will now be in place.

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About the Author

Ron Sinclair has been active in the certification of equipment for use in explosive atmospheres for nearly 40 years.  Previously a designer of large electrical machines, he has developed expertise in all types of Ex protection while working for the UK Health and Safety Executive’s Baseefa and EECS. When HSE decided to terminate the certification activity in 2001, Ron led the staff into the creation of a re-formed Baseefa as a private company. Subsequently, Baseefa has joined SGS, the world’s major supplier of test, certification and inspection services.  SGS Baseefa boasts over 300 years collective experience of hazardous area equipment certification, and is now working increasingly to support the users of such equipment.

Ron is active in standards development for hazardous area equipment: he is Chairman of BSI Committee EXL/31; Chairman of Cenelec Committee TC31; and a major contributor to the development of IEC standards.  He attends the European Commission’s ATEX Standing Committee Working Group, and is well placed to interpret the latest thinking from the legislators.  For six years, he has been chair of ExTAG, the Test and Assessment Group of the international IECEx Certification Scheme, as well as vice-chair of the European Notified Bodies Group (ExNB) for the ATEX Directive

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