Equipment and Protective Systems intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX) Directive 94/9/EC

Subject Area

The Directive applies to both electrical and mechanical equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. These include:

  • equipment and protective systems for use within potentially explosive atmospheres;
  • devices for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres, but which are required for, or contribute to the safe functioning of equipment and protective systems located inside such atmospheres; and
  • components relating to the above.


The potential for explosive atmospheres can exist in a range of mainly industrial locations such as mines, factories, agricultural silos, and oil and gas platforms, water and other chemical processing environments. There is a wide range of products intended for use in such areas, including control equipment and sensors, transformers, fans, pumps, compressors, fork lift trucks, and lighting.

Intention of Legislation

To enable the free trading of ATEX products within the EEA by removing the need for separate documentation and testing for each individual European market. Manufacturers may use a single CE mark on their products to show compliance with this (and any other relevant) Directive.

Implementing Legislation

The Directive has been implemented in Great Britain by The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (SI 1996 No.192) which came into force on 1 March 1996.

These Regulations have been amended by the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (Amendment) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001 No.3766) which came into force on 21 December 2001. The amendment principally covers the concept of "putting into service".

The Regulations (ISBN 0-11-053999-0) and the amendment to the Regulations (0-11-038961-1) are available to download from The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)  or they can be ordered from the The Stationery Office website.

The Directive has also been implemented separately in Northern Ireland on 29 July 1996 (SR 1996/247).

Current Position

Since implementation, manufacturers had the option of complying with the Directive itself, or with existing Directives in this area, or with national regulations in force on 23 March 1994 (the date of adoption of the Directive) during a transition period that ended on 30 June 2003.

Following the end of the transition period, manufacturers are now required to comply with the Directive. Earlier ATEX Directives (which covered only electrical equipment) have been repealed as from 1 July 2003. This also means that certificates of conformity under these "Old" Directives will also cease to be valid for new equipment from this date. Manufacturers and Users of non-Electrical equipment, protective systems, safety devices and components should review their future needs in the light of the new requirements.

Further guidance on the transition period can be found on the European Commission website.

Stakeholder Reports

Stakeholder reports are aimed at all sectors of the industry; from manufacturers to end-users to consultants.  They contain not only summaries of meetings and activities attended by the Department at national and European levels but also a range of news relevant to the sector.  They will also be used to call for responses to consultation and feedback on any outcomes. As well as downloading the reports direct from this website, we send out email alerts whenever a new report and associated documents are uploaded.  To subscribe to this service, please send an email to the contact details below.

Our most recent report was issued in January 2008.

Related Regulations

The ATEX 137 Workplace Directive 1999/92/EC, (also known as the 'Use' Directive) is implemented by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) in the UK. It came into force on 1st July 2003 to coincide with the end of transition of the ATEX 'Equipment' Directive (94/9/EC).

The ATEX Use directive is concerned with the safety of the workplace and places responsibility on the end user to risk assess their workplace and zone and mark hazardous areas according to their level of risk for gases and dusts. The zones correspond to the Group II Categories 1-3 in the ATEX equipment directive and enable end users to correctly specify to the manufacturers the intended use of ATEX products. Manufacturers can then supply the right category of ATEX equipment (certified under 94/9/EC) to be used within these zones.

Guidance to DSEAR is due to be published by HSE by the end of 2003. For further information please visit the Safety Policy Directorate's website.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has the responsibility for the enforcement of both sets of UK Regulations.

Guidance / Further Information

A guide to the UK Regulations, and a list of UK Notified Bodies appointed by the Secretary of State, is available from the right. You can order a hard copy of the Guide online via BERR Publications.

Further general information is available from the European Commission's "Enterprise" website , including the following:

The European Commission guide to the ATEX Directive 

The text of the Directive

Lists of harmonised standards (as published periodically in the Official Journal of the European Communities.)

Considerations by the ATEX Standing Committee summarising discussions on issues of technical and general application of the Directive.

Helpful guidance on the main concepts of New Approach directives can be found in the Guide to the implementation of directives based on the New Approach and the Global Approach, published by the European Commission.

For information on the work of HSE in relation to ATEX visit the Safety Policy Directorate's website.


Andrew Lunnon
Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
Bay 384, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Tel 020 7215 0158, Fax 020 7215 2635


Please note that we can generally only offer advice on policy interpretation; if you require complex technical advice, please contact one of the ATEX Notified Bodies (experienced companies who carry out conformity assessment procedures).  A list is available from the right.