General, guidance and enforcement issues

There are two EU Directives ATEX 95 (94/9/EC) and ATEX 137 (1999/92/EC) concerning, respectively, the supply and the use of equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres. The term 'ATEX' is an acronym, derived from the French title of the 94/9/EC Directive above. HSE has produced a Quick guide to DSEAR and the ATEX Directives.

Is there any guidance available from the EU on ATEX issues?

The EU published Guidelines on the application of ATEX 95 in July 2005 and these are under continuous update. Further information is also available in the EU good practice guide on ATEX 137.

How are the ATEX Directives implemented in the UK and who enforces them?

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) implemented ATEX 95 under The Equipment and Protective Systems for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (EPS Regulations). ATEX 95 concerns the supply of equipment, protective systems, components etc, where these are for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. BIS are responsible for policy issues, resolution of supply issues at EU level, appointing notified bodies in the UK, etc. The BIS website provides information on their responsibilities and guidance on the EPS Regulations.

The user Directive, ATEX 137, is implemented by HSE under The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). ATEX 137 concerns worker health and safety in those workplaces where potentially explosive atmospheres may be present.

The DSEAR and EPS Regulations are enforced in Britain by HSE and, in some circumstances, DSEAR is enforced by others (eg local authorities and petroleum licensing authorities).

How do the DSEAR and EPS Regulations relate to each other?

They are complementary. DSEAR is concerned with the safe use of dangerous substances and requires employers to zone workplaces and select equipment and protective systems that meet the EPS Regulations. The EPS Regulations put the duty on manufacturers to supply suitable equipment for such purposes.

Is there any published guidance on DSEAR?

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Updated 2023-02-15