Statutory Mandates and Standards

Basis for personnel and plant protection

In order to ensure effective protection of persons and property, as well as the environment, statutory mandates and standards are a vital prerequisite alongside technical competence.

The requirements for electrical equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres is highly complex. As a result, there are a number of national and international regulations, guidelines and standards. It is very important that manufacturers of equipment and protection systems and plant operators are aware of these statutory mandates in the area of explosion protection.

R. STAHL provides you with an overview of the most important legal specifications in Europe, North America and worldwide on the following pages. These include ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU (manufacturers) and Directive 1999/92/EC (plant operators) with risk assessment as the main element.

Explosion protection worldwide

In most countries, there are legal or other similar regulations for potentially explosive atmospheres that can harm people, plant, machinery or the environment. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is responsible for global standards in the area of electrotechnology.

IEC publications, which define the explosion protection for electrical equipment and systems, are prepared by the Technical Committee TC31 that are equated to recommendations. The regulations for potentially explosive gas atmospheres and combustible dust are set out in the IEC 60079 series of standards. National specifications may, however, deviate from these standards. For this reason, the extent to which the IEC standards can be applied in the individual countries must be checked.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published standards for non-electrical equipment:

  • ISO 80079-36: Non-electrical equipment for explosive atmospheres - Basic method and requirements
  • ISO 80079-37: Non-electrical equipment for explosive atmospheres - Non-electrical type of protection constructional safety "c", control of ignition sources "b", liquid immersion "k"
  • ISO 80079-38: Equipment and components in explosive atmospheres in underground mines

Overview of applicable standards for electrical equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

Equipment – General requirementsIEC 60079-0EN 60079-0
Equipment protection by flameproof enclosure "d"IEC 60079-1EN 60079-1
Classification of areas – Potentially explosive gas atmospheres
IEC 60079-10-1
EN 60079-10-1
Classification of areas – Potentially explosive dust atmospheres
IEC 60079-10-2
EN 60079-10-2
Equipment protection by intrinsic safety "i"
IEC 60079-11
EN 60079-11
Equipment protection by pressurised rooms
IEC 60079-13
EN 60079-13
Electrical installations design, selection and erection
IEC 60079-14
EN 60079-14
Equipment protection by type of protection "n"
IEC 60079-15
EN 60079-15
Artificial ventilation for the protection of analyser(s) houses
IEC/TR 60079-16
Testing and maintenance of electrical installations
IEC 60079-17
EN 60079-17
Equipment protection by encapsulation "m"
IEC 60079-18
EN 60079-18
Equipment repair, overhaul and reclamation
IEC 60079-19
EN 60079-19
Equipment protection by pressurised enclosure "p"
IEC 60079-2
EN 60079-2
Material characteristics for gas and vapour classification – Test methods and data
IEC 60079-20-1
EN 60079-20-1
Intrinsically safe systems
IEC 60079-25
EN 60079-25
Equipment with equipment protection level (EPL) Ga
IEC 60079-26
EN 60079-26
Protection of equipment and transmission systems using optical radiation
IEC 60079-28
EN 60079-28
Gas detectors - Performance requirements of detectors for flammable gases
IEC 60079-29-1
EN 60079-29-1
Gas detectors – Selection, installation, use and maintenance of detectors for flammable gases and oxygen
IEC 60079-29-2
EN 60079-29-2
Gas detectors – Guidance on functional safety of fixed gas detection systems
IEC 60079-29-3
EN 60079-29-3
Gas detectors – Open path detectors: General requirements and test methods for flammable gases
IEC 60079-29-4
EN 60079-29-4
Electrical resistance heat tracing – General and testing requirements
IEC 60079-30-1
EN 60079-30-1
Electrical resistance heat tracing – Application guide for, design, installation and maintenance
IEC 60079-30-2
EN 60079-30-2
Equipment dust ignition protection by enclosure "t"
IEC 60079-31
EN 60079-31
Electrostatics hazards – Tests
IEC 60079-32-2
EN 60079-32-2
Risk of ignition from electrostatic discharge
IEC/TS 60079-32-1
Equipment protection by special type of protection "s"
IEC 60079-33
Intrinsically safe systems with electronically controlled spark duration limitation
IEC/TS 60079-39
Equipment protection by powder filling "q"
IEC 60079-5
EN 60079-5
Equipment protection by oil immersion "o"
IEC 60079-6
EN 60079-6
Equipment protection by increased safety "e"
IEC 60079-7
EN 60079-7
Material characteristics – Test methods for combustible dustsISO/IEC 80079-20-2
EN ISO/IEC 80079-20-2
Safety equipment for safe operation of equipment with respect to explosion hazardsTS 60079-42
EN 50495

The IECEx Scheme

The laws of physics and chemistry relating to the development of explosions are valid worldwide, with some minor deviations. It is therefore worth subjecting the approval conditions for electrical equipment to a global regulation and allowing the free international movement of goods by means of non-country or non-region-specific certificates. The IEC has designed a procedure with this standardisation in mind – the IECEx scheme.

The IECEx scheme currently comprises of three components for the international testing and certification of the following:

1. Equipment used for explosion protection

2. Services, maintenance and repair of explosion-protected equipment

3. Skills of the people working in potentially explosive atmospheres

Our "Essential Explosion Protection" brochure contains further information about the relevant applicable statutory mandates and standards in explosion protection, on zone classifications and types of protection, on physical and technical bases and on operating and maintenance of systems in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Explosion protection in Europe

Statutory mandates and standards relating to explosion protection first existed at national level. Later on, these were replaced by European directives and standards. ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU (manufacturers) and Directive 1999/92/EC (plant operators) with risk assessment as the key element are thus also decisive for Germany.

ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU

This directive sets out the requirements for the quality of explosion-protected equipment and protection systems (e.g. by determining the construction type, certification, manufacturing and quality assurance, marking, operating instructions and the declaration of conformity), wherein the important health and safety requirements are specified that are to be complied with by the manufacturer and/or the importer.

Directive 1999/92/EC

These "Minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of the worker at risk from explosive atmospheres" refer to the operation of potentially explosive plants, and is therefore intended for the operator (employer).

In accordance with this Directive 1999/92/EC, the operator must assess the explosion hazard of the plant, classify the plant into hazard zones, and document all measures for the protection of workers in the explosion protection document.

Overview: Technical Rules for Hazardous Substances (TRGS) and Technical Rules for Operating Safety (TRBS) (explosion hazard) *

TRBS 1111Risk assessment and safety evaluation
TRBS 1112Maintenance
TRBS 1112 Part 1Explosion hazards related to and caused by maintenance work – Assessment and protective measures
TRBS 1123Modifications and important changes to plants in accordance with Section 1 (2), Sentence 2 No. 3 BetrSichV (German Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health) – Determination of test requirement in accordance with Section 14 (1 and 2) BetrSichV
TRBS 1201Testing of operating means and plant requiring monitoring
TRBS 1201 Part 1Testing of plant in potentially explosive atmospheres and checking of workplaces in potentially explosive atmospheres
TRBS 1201 Part 3Repair of equipment, protective systems, safety/monitoring and control equipment in the meaning of Directive 94/9/EC – Determination of test requirement in accordance with Section 14 (6) BetrSichV
TRBS 1201 Part 5Testing of storage systems, filling stations, service stations and airfield refuelling systems and, where ignitable, readily ignitable or highly ignitable liquids are being stored or filled, with regards to hazards caused by fire and explosion
TRBS 1203Competent persons
TRBS 2152, TRGS 720Hazardous explosive atmospheres – General information
TRBS 2152 Part 1, TRGS 721Hazardous explosive atmospheres – Assessment of explosion hazard
TRBS 2152 Part 2, TRGS 722Avoidance or limitation of hazardous explosive atmospheres
TRBS 2152 Part 3Hazardous explosive atmospheres – Avoidance of the ignition of hazardous explosive atmospheres
TRBS 2152 Part 4Hazardous explosive atmospheres – Measures for design-related explosion protection which reduces the effects of explosions to the extent that they are considered harmless
TRBS 2153Avoidance of ignition hazards as a result of electrostatic charges
TRBS 2210Hazards caused by interactions
TRBS 3151, TRGS 751Avoidance of fire, explosion and pressure hazards at service stations and filling systems for filling land-based vehicles

*(official versions available in German only)

Explosion protection in North America

In North America, explosion protection for electrical equipment and systems vary slightly from the IEC technology. The differences can be found, for example, in the classification of potentially explosive atmospheres, the equipment design and the installation of electrical systems.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) in the USA and the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) in Canada apply to electrical equipment and systems used in potentially explosive operating facilities. These are similar to installation regulations for electrical systems in all areas and refer to a range of other standards of other institutions which contain regulations for the installation and construction of suitable equipment.

In the USA, these are mainly the standards issued by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) and the International Society of Automation (ISA). In Canada, it is the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).