ATEX Case Studies / ATEX Training

GRUPA WOLFF carries out complex works in the field of explosive safety in industry. Basically, our activities include: conducting an Explosive Safety Audit, carrying out an Explosion Risk Assessment and preparing Explosion Protection Documents for both existing and newly established process systems.

An integral part of both the Explosion Risk Assessment document and the Explosion Protection Document is determination of the scope and type of explosion risk zones. Moreover, our engineers organise training course on explosive safety and ATEX Directives.

1. EXPLOSION SAFETY AUDITS

The Explosive Safety Audit is a quick method of determining critical system points which should be addressed in the first place to ensure a minimum safety level. Engineers of GRUPA WOLFF carry out audits for both existing plants and those under construction (project audit). The auditing process ends with issuing a report which indicates further measures aimed at improving explosive safety at the plant.

Explosive Safety Audits carried out by engineers of GRUPA WOLFF include without limitation:

  • Existing process systems (current existing state)
  • Newly constructed process systems (project audit)
  • Refurbishing process systems (an audit of the state after the refurbishment)

2. DETERMINING EXPLOSION RISK ZONES

Engineers of GRUPA WOLFF perform works consisting in determining proper explosion risk zones with their scope for both existing and newly constructed plants and facilities. In the case of newly constructed facilities / plants, the engineers asses the plant safety in the design phase, which allows to determine at the right moment technical specifications for electric or non-electric equipment that may be installed in explosion risk zones. This solution allows to select properly the equipment category prior to the purchase process.

The above procedure eliminates the possibility of an erroneous choice of the equipment category and the necessity to replace the equipment later on.

The activities performed by GRUPA WOLFF’s engineers include:

  • Classifying types of explosion risk zones
  • Verifying / tempering, if possible, the classification and reducing the scope of the zones with the use of proper procedures and technical measures
  • Updating explosion risk zones – determining the type and scope of explosion risk zones upon changes in the plant

The engineers make an inventory of process plants or fragments of process plants in respect of the requirements resulting from Directives ATEX 95 and 137. The works result in a report indicating the correctness of selection of electric and non-electric equipment from the point of view of its operation in the determined Explosion Risk Zones.

The division into explosion risk zones as per Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 8 July, 2010 “”on minimum occupational safety and health requirements related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in the work area”” (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931, § 5.1.):

  • Zone 0 — the space where explosive atmosphere containing a mixture of inflammable substances, in the form of gases, vapours, and mists, with air occurs permanently, frequently for long periods
  • Zone 1 — the space where explosive atmosphere containing a mixture of inflammable substances, in the form of gases, vapours, and mists, with air may occur at times in the course of normal operation
  • Zone 2 — the space where explosive atmosphere containing a mixture of inflammable substances, in the form of gases, vapours, and mists, with air does not occur in the course of normal operation and in the event of its occurrence, it stays for a short period of time
  • Zone 20 — the space where explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of inflammable dust in the air occurs permanently, frequently or for long periods of time
  • Zone 21 — the space where explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of inflammable dust in the air may occur at times in the course of normal operation
  • Zone 22 — the space where explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of inflammable dust in the air does not occur in the course of normal operation and in the event of its occurrence, it stays for a short period of time

Determination of explosion risk zones at work stands belongs to the employer’s basic responsibilities resulting from the Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 8 July, 2010 “on minimum occupational safety and health requirements related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in the work area” (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931).

According to the above Regulation of the Minister of Economy (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931, § 5.1.): “the employer shall divide the spaces threatened with explosion into zones and classify them on the basis of probability and time of occurrence of explosive atmosphere as zone 0, zone 1, zone 2, zone 20, zone 21, zone 22“.

The Regulation indicates that the employer should have an Explosion Protection Document to be worked out on the basis of an Explosion Risk Assessment, whereas the latter shall include a division of spaces into explosion risk zones.

3. WORKING OUT AN EXPLOSION RISK ASSESSMENT

Our team of engineers makes professional risk assessments of plants at the design stage as well as of existing process plants. The final stage of the assessments is working out of an Explosion Risk Assessment document. It indicates the threats occurring on the premises of the works as related to occurrence of inflammable and explosive dusts, powders, liquids, vapours, and gases. Moreover, it specifies the measures to be taken in order to eliminate and/or limit the threats.

For each existing or planned plant in the area of which inflammable or explosive substances (dusts, powders, liquids, vapours, and gases) may occur, an Explosion Risk Assessment document must be prepared.

GRUPA WOLFF’s engineers prepare Explosion Risk Assessment documents for:

  • Existing facilities and process plants for which the said document has not been worked out
  • Newly constructed facilities and process plants (the study is prepared at the design stage, which allows to eliminate many erroneous guidelines and thereby to minimise costs of corrections of the constructed plant/facility)
  • Plants and facilities where changes have been made that affect the explosive safety level (e.g. a change of technology, raw materials, application of new machines, etc.)

It is important that the Explosion Risk Assessment documents prepared by our engineers include each time determination or verification of explosion risk zones.

Explosion Risk Assessment at work stands belongs to the employer’s basic responsibilities resulting from the Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 8 July, 2010 “on minimum occupational safety and health requirements related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in the work area” (Dz. U. 2010 No. 138, item 931):

According to the above Regulation of the Minister of Economy (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931, § 4.1.): “the employer shall make a complex assessment of the risk related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in work areas, hereinafter “risk assessment”, taking into consideration as a minimum:

  1. probability and time of occurrence of an explosive atmosphere;
  2. probability of occurrence and activation of ignition sources, including electrostatic discharges;
  3. plants operated by the employer, substances and mixtures used, processes occurring and their interactions;
  4. scale of predicted explosion effects.

The risk assessment also includes the work places which are, or may be, connected through openings with other places where explosive atmosphere may occur.”

As regards updating of the Explosion Risk Assessment document, the Regulation of the Minister of Economy (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931, § 7.1.) provides that: “In the event when the work place, the equipment situated thereon or the work organisation thereof have been subject to any changes that may have affected the result of the risk assessment, the employer shall immediately update the document.

The quoted Regulation also indicates that the employer should have an Explosion Protection Document to be worked out on the basis of an Explosion Risk Assessment document, whereas the latter shall include a division of spaces into explosion risk zones. It means that for the employer, the final document is the Explosion Protection Document which should include the two remaining components, i.e. the risk assessment and the classification of explosion risk zones.

4. EXPLOSION PROTECTION DOCUMENT

The Explosion Protection Document is a complete study on explosive safety – at the same time the most important one – that an employer should have. It should be worked out before the work place is rendered accessible to any persons working there. This obligation – similarly to the determination of explosion risk zones and the Explosion Risk Assessment document – results directly from the Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 8 July, 2010 “”on minimum occupational safety and health requirements related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in the work area”” (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931).

In recent years, GRUPA WOLFF has worked out tens of such documents. Among our customers. there companies from different industries, including power, food, chemical, and wood ones.

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We prepare Explosion Protection Documents (“EPD”) for:

  • Existing facilities and process plants for which the said document has not been worked out
  • Plants and facilities where changes have been made that may have affected the explosive safety level (e.g. a change of technology or raw materials, application of new equipment, etc.)

It is important that the Explosion Protection Documents prepared by GRUPA WOLFF include an explosion risk assessment and classification of explosion risk zones. Thereby, they meet the requirements of the Regulation of the Minister of Economy (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931).

Moreover, it is possible to verify, as part of the works performed by engineers of GRUPA WOLFF, a proper selection of equipment for operation in different explosion risk zones.

The Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 8 July, 2010 “on minimum occupational safety and health requirements as related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in the work area” (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931, § 7.1.) stipulates that “The employer, prior to rendering accessible a work place, shall prepare an explosion protection document as based on a risk assessment…”

“…In the event when the work place, the equipment situated thereon or the work organisation thereof have been subject to any changes that may have affected the result of the risk assessment (which is an integral part of the EPD – ed.), the employer shall immediately update the document.”

The quoted Regulation also indicates that the Explosion Protection Document should be worked out on the basis of an Explosion Risk Assessment document and the latter shall include a division of spaces into explosion risk zones.

5. ATEX TRAINING COURSES / DEDICATED ATEX TRAINING COURSES

GRUPA WOLFF provides specialist ATEX training courses with subject area including the most important issues resulting from ATEX Directives and standards harmonised therewith. Below is an exemplary scope of the training. The training program may be tailored to the company’s or institution’s specificity.

Training courses provided by our company are tailored to the specificity of particular industrial plants, organisations or insurance companies. The subject area of the courses includes the most important issues formulated in the so ATEX Directives, Polish regulations and harmonised standards. Below are presented typical issues discussed at the training activities:

  1. Legal regulations related to explosive safety: Directive ATEX137 and Polish regulations (concerning owners of production lines, machines and equipment intended for operation in explosion risk zones).
  2. Legal regulations related to explosive safety: Directive ATEX95 and Polish regulations (concerning suppliers of machines and equipment and protection systems intended for operation in explosion risk zones); mutual relations between Directives ATEX137 and ATEX95.
  3. Legal provisions related to fire safety: Regulation of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration of 7 June 2010 on fire protection of buildings, building projects and terrains; mutual relations with Directive ATEX137.
  4. Basic rules of classification and marking of explosion risk zones (gases, solvent vapours, dusts); critical assessment of of usefulness of explosiveness parameters of gases, liquid vapours and dusts.
  5. Electrostatic earthing – significance of the problem, examples and available technical solutions.
  6. Types of explosion safeguards applied in industry and basic rules of their selections (explosion relief, damping, isolation); basic rules of protecting process plants against explosion risk.
  7. Film examples illustrating the effectiveness (advantages and disadvantages) of application of individual explosion safeguard systems (test explosions).
  8. Basic rules of safe conduct of works and equipment operation in explosion risk zones (a film with a commentary).
  9. Examples of explosions in industry (a presentation with photographs and a film – a simulation of an explosion).
  10. The degree and availability of ventilation, the scope of explosion risk zones as exemplified with gas grids, propane-butane, hydrogen, acetylene; battery charging stations, handy cabinets for chemical substances.
  11. Electric equipment in the zones – general guidelines for selection for gases, liquid vapours and dusts.
  12. Threat of a serious failure in industry; selected problems related to storage (silos, tanks), dust extraction (filters, cyclones, vacuum cleaning), carburization systems in power stations (mills), limitations related to application of explosion relief.
  13. Process and explosion threats at biomass installations (acceptance, storage and feeding of biomass for combustion/co-combustion, dust extraction, impact of raw material quality); threats related to small biomass installations.
  14. Problems of explosion risk related to storage and dust extraction at plants for preparation of alternative fuels for combustion.

The Regulation of the Minister of Economy of 8 July, 2010 “on minimum occupational safety and health requirements as related to the possibility of occurrence of explosive atmosphere in the work area” (Dz. U. 2010 no. 138 item 931, § 9.1.) stipulates that “the employer shall ensure for the persons working at places where there is a risk of occurrence of explosive atmosphere proper training on explosion protection as part of obligatory occupational safety and health training”.

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Explosion Safety