Directive 1999/92/EC (more commonly known as ATEX 137 or the Worker Protection Directive) places responsibility on employers to eliminate or control the risks from dangerous substances. The worker Protection directive is specifically designed to just what it says, and the responsibility for this is placed clearly on the shoulders of the employer.
An employer’s obligations under ATEX 137 are clear:
Prevent the formulation of explosive atmospheres in the workplace, or, avoid the ignition of explosive atmospheres, and control effects of explosions;
Conduct a risk assessment covering the: likelihood of explosive atmospheres occurring and their persistence, likelihood of a source of ignition, effect of an ignition on plant, personnel and the environment;
Classify the workplace where potentially explosive atmospheres are likely to occur into zones;
Mark hazardous areas with “EX” signs at every point of entry;
Maintain an explosion protection document including: risk assessment and identification of zones, area classification, training of staff and instituting a system of permits to work.
Select ATEX compliant equipment according to intended zone.
In Great Britain, ATEX 137 is implemented into UK law under DSEAR; The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.