What does ATEX certified mean?
Technically there is no ‘ATEX certification’ as the ATEX directive is not strictly a certification scheme. Instead, equipment is approved under the ATEX directive. This might seem like we are splitting hairs, but it is an important distinction.
So, what is the ATEX directive? The ATEX directive, created by the European Union, outlines the minimum Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) for hazardous area equipment. This helps the trade of hazardous area equipment by providing harmonised requirements that countries can adopt.
For equipment to have ATEX approval, it must have a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) issued by the manufacturer. This document states that the equipment satisfies the EHSRs. Conformity to harmonised standards is the most common way to meet the ESHRs. Essentially, think of a DoC as the golden ticket for the manufacturer to sell the equipment in the EU.
The requirements allowing a manufacturer to produce a DoC is where things get a little tricky. Equipment intended for Zone 2 or 22 does not need to undergo testing by an independent body. Instead, the manufacturer can perform its own testing to ensure the equipment meets the ESHRs requirements to produce a DoC.
For equipment intended for Zone 0, 1 ,20 or 21, a notified body:
- Tests a sample of the equipment against the ESHRs and issues a Type Examination Certificate.
- Completes quality assurance monitoring of the manufacturing process.
A notified body is a third-party organisation that is authorised to operate under the ATEX directive as a testing and quality assurance authority.
And there you have it! Equipment with ATEX approval meets the ATEX directive’s Essential Health and Safety Requirements so that it can be sold in the EU.