ATEX Zone 20

The ATEX 137 Workplace Directive (Directive 99/92/EC) defines safety standards that apply to different levels of dangerous working environments. The more dangerous the environment, the more stringent the requirements. ATEX Zone 20 is one of the two most dangerous zoning classifications.

Many workplaces may contain or produce explosive atmospheres. Examples include:

  • places where the work creates or releases flammable gases or vapours (e.g. paint spraying)
  • places handling fine organic dusts (e.g. grain storage and woodworking)
  • underground mines (for dust)
  • oil and gas (for vapour)
ATEX Zone 20 and ATEX Zone 0 represent the most dangerous workplace environments

ATEX Zone 20 and ATEX Zone 0 represent the most dangerous workplace environments

ATEX uses Zone numbers to distinguish between environments with different levels of danger. It is an employer’s responsibility to correctly classify the workplaces for which they are responsible. The classification given to a zone depends on the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere occurring and its persistence if it does. ATEX distinguishes between explosive atmospheres that arise because of gases, vapours and mists and those that arise from dusts.

ATEX Zone 20 is the most hazardous workplace type where explosive dusts are present.

ATEX Zone 20 is the most hazardous workplace type where explosive dusts are present.

The zone classifications for gases, vapours and mists are directly relevant to oil and gas platforms, drilling rigs and storage facilities.

Gases, vapours and mists
Zone 0 A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is present continuously or for long periods or frequently.
Zone 1 A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.
Zone 2 A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only

The zone classifications for dusts are pertinent to underground mines.

Dusts
Zone 20 A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in air is present continuously, or for long periods or frequently.
Zone 21 A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in air is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.
Zone 22 A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in air is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.

 

IPU and ATEX Zone 20

IPU works extensively with customers in the mining industry. We supply engine starting systems for underground mining operations around the world. These air and hydraulic-powered systems are fitted to winches, fire pumps, free-steer vehicles (FSVs), compressors and vehicles. This environment falls under ATEX Zone 20, the most dangerous environment recognised under the regulations.