Explosion Risk Assessments

What is an Explosion Risk Assessment?

Risk assessment is a concept that applies to every aspect of daily life and the workplace. It represents a commitment to health and safety.  Risk assessments are routinely undertaken to identify conditions that have the potential to cause harm; anticipate their consequences; establish how likely it is that harm will happen; analyze the degree of risk present; measure the impacts and their scale; and, perhaps most importantly, to determine ways to reduce or eliminate the risk (through design, training, or engineering, for example).

Explosion Risk Assessments are comprehensive analyses of risks related to products, plants and processes that involve potentially explosive environments. They are especially important because of the consequences, should an explosion happen!  Explosion Risk Assessments apply to equipment, processes and entire facilities in which there is any possible occurrence of an explosive atmosphere.

In order to control hazards related to the presence of gases/vapours/dusts, systems have been created to classify the hazardous area(s) into Zones. Zones indicate the location of the explosive atmosphere, as well as the frequency and duration with which the hazard exists. Proper zone classification is required as part of an explosion risk assessment.

Who Needs to Conduct an Explosion Risk Assessment?

Any environments where flammable and/or explosive gases, vapours and dusts are present are hazardous. They pose a risk of fire and/or explosion.

Explosion Risk Assessments are required by manufacturers of equipment to be installed/used in hazardous environments. Both electrical devices (which can arc, spark and generate heat), and non-electrical devices (which can generate friction sparking or static electricity) can become a source of ignition.  Equipment designed for use in explosive atmospheres must therefore be assessed to ensure that the risk of an explosion is prevented. The design, installation and use of such equipment must incorporate measures to control the risks identified.

Explosion Risk Assessments are also required by employers for premises where people are working in a potentially explosive atmosphere. Employees must be protected from the risks if they are required to work where there are flammable and explosive substances present.

What Regulations Govern Risk Assessments?

Regulatory bodies around the world have created requirements in the form of Laws, Codes of Practice, Standards and Directives that:

  • Clarify the requirements for Explosion Risk Assessments
  • Control who may conduct them
  • Define the obligations of employers
  • Dictate how the assessment findings must be documented

The following are among the Regulations that govern Explosion Risk Assessments:

  • National legislation, which may incorporate other Regulations noted
  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) in the UK
  • Directive 1999/92/EC, also known as ATEX 153 (earlier knows as a ATEX 137), a Directive on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers
  • Various specific Regulations from within IEC 60079
  • EN 1127-1

What Documentation is Created?

Explosion Risk Assessments may apply to a given product, plant or process.  Results of an Explosion Risk Assessment must be documented in the prescribed form. Explosion Risk Assessment reports must provide proof that all the relevant analyses have been conducted, including that:

  • The ignition sources have been identified and evaluated
  • The hazard area classifications and zones have been identified
  • Steps have been taken to avoid hazards (explosion prevention)
  • Measures have been taken to limit the consequences of a potential explosion (explosion protection)

How Can KSC Help?

Experts at KSC can assist with Explosion Risk Assessments by directing you to the relevant resources, and by providing technical support, and compliance verification services. KSC can perform the necessary inspections.. We can assist in the preparation of an Explosion Risk Assessment report in the prescribed format. We can help you both avoid compromises related to safety and help you address them, if discovered, with optimized solutions that are compliant with ATEX and/or IECEx requirements.

Specifically, KSC can:

  • Provide full technical support in the preparation of a Hazardous Area Report (Zoning) in compliance with IEC 60079-10-1 and IEC 60079-10-2
  • Verify the compliance of installations with IEC 60079-14 
  • Conduct IEC 60079-17 inspections, extended to include non-electrical equipment and assemblies, in accordance with applicable ISO/IEC/EN standards and IECEx Rules 

KSC can guide you through the complex process of preparing an Explosion Risk Assessment and Explosion Protection Document (EPD) as required by 1999/92/EC. KSC can help you prepare an HAC – Hazardous Area Classification Report and prepare the EPD – Explosion Protection Document in accordance with EN 1127-1 as required by ATEX 153.

These are among the services that we provide.  For more information, please contact us.