Gary Horgan (CMSE Consultancy Manager at the Chris Mee Group) and his team are outlining the path for companies to ensure they are compliant with Part 8 “Explosive Atmospheres at Places of Work” of the Health, Safety & Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulation 2007 in a series of focussed blogs.
This is Blog number 3 in the series.
- Blog 1, Explosion Accidents 2020
- Blog 2, Preparing for an Explosion Protection Document
- Blog 3, Summary of Legal Requirements
- Blog 4, What Are Explosions?
In the latest of our series of process safety blogs which are taking you through the process of developing an Explosion Protection Document, we will be looking at the key legal requirements relating to explosion safety in Ireland.
As mentioned briefly in our previous blog, the legal requirements for dealing with explosive atmospheres primarily derives from two European directives:
- ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU, or “ATEX Equipment Directive”, is concerned with products that may be supplied for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The directive is transposed into Irish legislation by SI No 230 of 2017 European Union (Equipment and Protective Systems for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres) Regulations 2017.
- ATEX Directive 1999/92/EC, or “ATEX Workplace Directive” deals with the precautions to be taken in workplaces where explosive atmospheres might be present due to flammable dusts vapours or gases (or mixtures of these). This directive is transposed into Irish legislation by Part 8 of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007.
The term “ATEX” is derived from the French “ATmosphères EXplosives”. Another acronym often encountered in explosion safety is DSEAR; this is an acronym used for the “Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations” which is the UK legislation which transposes the European ATEX Workplace Directive.
In this blog we will focus on the essential requirements arising from Part 8 of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007.
Where and when do these Regulations apply?
In general, the Regulations apply at most workplaces where flammable substances are stored or used, for example, factories where flammable liquids are present or where flammable dusts are produced in the process. Examples include pharmaceutical manufacturing, chemical processing, LPG storage and filling, milk drying, and flour production.
Some specific types of workplace and equipment are excluded (such as appliances which burn gaseous fuels, and transport of dangerous goods) as these areas are covered by separate Directives and Regulations.
Key Requirements of the Regulations
What then are the key requirements of Part 8 of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007? Overall, the Regulations set out the general requirements to manage fire and explosion risks, and impose some specific requirements, which are described below. Employers and the self-employed must:
- Carry out a risk assessment of any work activities involving flammable substances.
- Record the findings of the risk assessment in a document called the Explosion Protection Document.
- Provide technical or organisational measures so as to reduce the risk of explosions (as set out in Schedule 2 of the Regulations)
- Classify places (according to Schedule 1 of the Regulations) where explosive atmosphere may occur into zones and mark the zones where necessary.
- Select and provide suitable equipment for use in the zones.
- Equipment must be CE marked and in compliance with SI No 230 of 2017 European Union (Equipment and Protective Systems for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres) Regulations 2017.
- Provide training to workers who work in places where explosive atmospheres may occur.
In later blogs, we will examine each of these requirements in greater detail.
While the regulations set out the minimum legal requirements, CMSE Consultants continue to assist our clients to meet or exceed these requirements in a practical and pragmatic way. We draw on our experience working in a wide range of sectors and businesses, including Pharmaceuticals, Energy, Medical Devices and Food & Drink Manufacturing.
If you require further information or assistance please contact us via email at email@example.com, by phone at 021 497 8100 or start an instant chat with us via the chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.