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Hazardous Areas
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Introduction to Hazardous Areas
What the terms mean

This is a brief description of the terms used in this website and the origin of the standards and rules that apply to the equipment. This guide is intended only as an introduction to the subject of hazardous areas and should not be regarded as a complete and definitive treatment of the subject. Further reading can be found in the rules and standards mentioned, National Rules and European directives. See European Commission Website. The risks discussed here are those from explosive liquids and gases. Where an explosive atmosphere exists or may exist in any premises, there is a responsibility on the owners to ensure that all the prescribed preventive measures are adopted and maintained.

In Ireland, this requirement is described in detail in the National Rules for Electrical Installations in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Part 6.1 and the Guide to the Selection of Electrical Apparatus for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres, published by The Electro-Technical Council of Ireland.
The standards defining suitable equipment are the European CENELEC Standards. The General Requirements Standard, EN50014, lists other relevant standards. Standards apply to combustible dust risk also such as EN50281-1-1.

These standards have been harmonised under Atex Directive 94/9/EC and are a legal requirement in all states in the European Community since 30th June 2003.


Zones Gas Groups Temperature Classes
Types of Protection What to Use Where Atex Directive
Atex Groups Atex Approval Notified Bodies
Marking Labels