Two European directives have drawn the lines of the new regulatory scenery concerning explosive atmospheres. The new regulation was drafted in terms of objectives and does not provide users with technical clues for its implementation. It was necessary to fill the gap and that is why UIC deemed it appropriate to publish that it would help its members.
The prevention and protection initiative prescribed in the directive is implemented by the principal in the following order of priorities:
Prevent the formation of explosive atmospheres. There are measures which make it possible to limit the probability and duration of vapour, gas or flammable dust; they are directly linked to zoning and their implementation makes it possible to limit the size of zones.
If the nature of the activity does not allow for a prevention of the formation of explosive atmospheres, avoid the ignition of explosive atmospheres. There are measures dealing with conformity regulations concerning materials, which make it possible to limit the risk of inflaming an explosive atmosphere which could not be prevented with the measures mentioned in number 1.
Mitigate the detrimental effects of an explosion in the interest of the workers’ health and safety. There are measures which deal with the organisation which comes from the explosion protection document or DRPE in French, (but which does not only include that type of measures, for measures concerning materials are also possible, as well as measures concerning buildings such as the geography of the places or the structure of the buildings).