Fundamental Differences between IECEx and ATEX
The IECEx System is one of four Conformity Assessment Systems operated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) The IECEx System includes the following four separate International Certification elements:
- IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme
- IECEx Certified Services Scheme
- IECEx Conformity Mark Licensing System
- IECEx Certified Competent Persons Scheme
ATEX refers to three separate (but related) European Union (EU) Directives:
- In March 2014 the European Commission published a revised version of 94/9/EC numbered 2014/34/EU. Although significantly extended in some areas, there is very little change that affects this comparison. The new directive will be effective from 20 April 2016 onwards. The main changes the Regulations introduced relate to alignment of the New Legislative Framework (NLF) principles. The NLF is a set of legislative acts aim to create a more coherent and consistent legal framework for the marketing of products in the European Union across all sectors. Very little practical change fro manufacturers. Clarifies responsibilities for importers and distributors.
- 94/9/EC Equipment Directive – this is primarily concerned with trade and the manufacture and sale of Ex equipment (electrical and non-electrical equipment with a potential ignition source). It applies minimum Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) to avoid concerns over safety being a barrier to trade. The responsibility for compliance is with the manufacturer.
- 1999/92/EC Use Directive – this is primarily concerned with the safety of workers and applies to the Classification of Explosive Atmospheres and the correct selection, installation, inspection and maintenance of Ex equipment. The responsibility for compliance is with employers and workers.
“The target jurisdiction is the world – all countries. The IECEx System is the only Certification scheme to be formally endorsed by the United Nations as “world’s best practice and recommended model” for use by regulators when regulating the use of Ex equipment and Services.”
The 2014/34/EU Equipment Directive is not, itself, law but becomes law in each EU member state when it is “adopted” by that member state. The target jurisdiction is the European Economic Area (EEA) which includes the European Union PLUS Switzerland PLUS Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (as European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members). ATEX is sometimes used on a voluntary basis outside the EEA.