Explosion Risk Analysis

Risks resulting from the use of flammable substances, dusts or gases (or their mixtures) trigger significant increase of explosion probability in process units.

An explosive atmosphere is created in places where a mixture of air, combustible gases, vapours or dusts is produced, processed and stored in presence of oxygen.

An explosive atmosphere containing gases, vapours and fogs can be usually found in:

  • chemical plants
  • printing houses
  • paint shops
  • biomass gasification plants
  • heat & power plants and power plants
  • storage tanks

… and many other areas, in which you can find combustible raw materials and gas/liquid products.

An explosive atmosphere containing dusts can be usually found in:

  • chemical plants
  • heat & power plants and power plants
  • paint shops
  • cement plants
  • sea harbours
  • food processing plants
  • wood processing plants
  • production plants manufacturig granulated products made of plastic
  • mills
  • elevators and storage tanks

… and many other areas, in which you can find combustible raw materials and powdered, fibrous or dusty products.

In 1996, several specific standards under collective name ATEX (from French: ATmosphères EXplosives, i.e. explosive atmosphere) aiming at mitigation of explosion risk were used for the first time. Starting from 1 July, 2003, all electric and electronic equipment intended for using in environments exposed to explosion and sold in within European Union borders have to be properly ATEX certified.

According to the requirements of the ATEX Directive (94/9/EC), all Manufacturers are obliged to supply electrical equipment to be used within explosion zones ONLY with appropriate certificates.

WThe ATEX Directive (1999/92/EC) applies to the Employers and Users and specifies the requirements for improving occupational health and safety of persons working in explosive environments.

Both Directives are BINDING in Poland and in the European Union.

One of the basic steps to be taken by the Plant, on the premises of which explosive atmospheres occur (such as a mixture of oxygen with flammable dusts, powders, liquids, gases or vapours), is to determine explosion zones and their range (zones for dusts and powders: 20, 21, 22; zones for gases and vapours: 0, 1, 2) and assign all electrical and electronic equipment operating within the determined explosion zones to corresponding categories.

The determination of zone type is based on the estimation of frequency of emission of combustibles into the space within a process unit and on the indication of actions that have to be taken to eliminate any possible sources of ignition that might set off an explosion.

Benefits resulting from assessment of compliance with the ATEX Directive:

  • provision of safety in industrial plants,
  • fulfilment of requirements of the applicable law,
  • limitation of economic losses arising out of potential risks, failures or production downtimes,
  • confirmation of competence by a third party if such party participates in the assessment,
  • provision of required equipment standards,
  • coordination of OHS Representatives and persons responsible for company safety.

The most important action is to prevent explosive atmospheres from building up. If the prevention is impossible, it is necessary to prevent ignition sources from creating.

As part of fulfilment of the requirements resulting from the aforementioned Directives, ATEX ‒ Engineering Office works out the following studies:

  • Explosion Protection Document,
  • determination of explosion zones,
  • explosion safety risk analysis,
  • provision of concept for improving explosion safety,
  • verification of existing explosion protection systems,
  • provision of technical consultancy services in respect of adjustment of existing equipment and systems to explosion safety requirements,
  • supervision over proper execution of assembly works related to safety systems, both on behalf of the Investor and the Contractor,
  • provision of technical consultancy services in respect of introduction of explosion safety regulations into existing company’s quality management and OHS management systems,
  • provision of ATEX specialised trainings.
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