As a manufacturer, you need to secure copies of the directives and judge whether they apply to your product. The European Commission does not publish a list of products to which their laws apply; they require the manufacturer to determine the applicability of directives to any given product. The purpose of the Equipment and Protective Systems in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres directive is protect the safety and health of persons, domestic animals and property against the hazards resulting from the use of equipment and systems providing protection against potentially explosive atmospheres.
Chapter I, Article 1 describes the equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Included are safety devices, controlling devices and regulating devices intended for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres but required for or contributing to the safe functioning of equipment and protective systems with respect to the risks of explosion. The article defines ‘equipment’, ‘protective systems’ and ‘components’ within the context of the directive. Equipment Group I applies to equipment intended for use in underground parts of mines, and to those parts of surface installations of such mines, liable to be endangered by firedamp and/or combustible dust. Equipment Group II applies to equipment intended for use in other places liable to be endangered by explosive atmospheres. The categories of equipment defining the required levels of protection are described in Annex I.
To view the Equipment and Protective Systems in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres directive, and to see the latest list of standards for that directive, please go the European Commission's website at http://www.newapproach.org and click on "Directives and Standards."
Chapter II gives procedures for assessing the conformity of equipment and systems to requirements of the directive. Annex I lists criteria for the classification of equipment groups into categories. The directive sets out essential requirements only. Harmonized standards are necessary, especially with regard to the non-electrical aspects of protection against explosions. These standards relate to the design, manufacture and testing of equipment, compliance with which enables a product to be presumed to meet the essential requirements of the directive.
Manufacturers of equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres are not permitted to self-certify the compliance of their products. The U.S. manufacturer must hire a test lab affiliated with a notified body; test results are subsequently sent to the notified body for evaluation and approval, following which the notified body issues a certificate. (Notified bodies are companies which have been selected by the EU member states and “notified” to the European Commission as being competent to test and certify products under a particular directive where third party testing is required. Notified bodies must be located in the EU and are the only entities allowed to give final product approval under directives requiring CE marking, although their affiliates outside the EU are allowed to test products and send results to the parent for approval.)
To view the Equipment and Protective Systems in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres directive, and to see the latest list of standards for that directive, please go the European Commission's website at http:// www.newapproach.org and click on "Directives and Standards."
This overview of the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres is still being developed. For additional information on this directive, please contact the U.S. Department of Commerce’s EU specialists: Bob Straetz at 202-482-4496 or Sylvia Mohr at 011 32 2 508 2675.