The "USE" Directive
minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of
workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres (15th individual
Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
of explosion risks may be required under other Community acts; whereas, in
order to avoid unnecessary duplication of work, the employer should be
allowed, in accordance with national practice, to combine documents, parts
of documents or other equivalent reports produced under other Community
acts to form a single safety report’;
The prevention of the formation of explosive atmospheres also
includes the application of the substitution principle;
Coordination should take place when workers from several
undertakings are present at the same workplace;
Preventive measures must be supplemented if necessary by additional
measures which become effective when ignition has taken place; maximum
safety can be achieved by combining preventive measures with other
additional measures limiting the detrimental effects of explosions on
Council Directive 92/58/EEC of 24 June 1992 on the minimum
requirements for the provision of safety and/or health signs at work
(ninth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of
Directive 89/ 391/EEC) (‘) is fully applicable, in particular to places
immediately contiguous to hazardous areas, where smoking, crosscutting,
welding and other activities introducing flames or sparks may interact
with the hazardous area;
This Directive, which is the 15th individual Directive within the
meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC, lays down minimum
requirements for the safety and health
protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres as
defined in Article 2.
This Directive shall not apply to:
areas used directly for and during the medical treatment of patients;
the use of appliances burning gaseous fuels in accordance with
Directive 90/396/EEC (2);
the manufacture, handling, use, storage and transport of explosives
or chemically unstable substances;
mineral-extracting industries covered by Directive 92/ 91/EEC Q) or
Directive 92/104/EEC (4);
the use of means of transport by land, water and air, to which the
pertinent provisions of the international agreements (e.g. ADNR, ADR, ICAO,
IMO, RID), and the Community Directives giving effect to those agreements,
apply. Means of transport intended for use in a potentially explosive
atmosphere shall not be excluded.
The provisions of Directive 89/391/EEC and the relevant individual
Directives are fully applicable to the domain referred to in paragraph 1,
without prejudice to more restrictive and/or specific provisions contained
in this Directive
of and protection against explosions
a view to preventing, within the meaning of Article 6(2) of Directive
89/391/EEC, and providing protection against explosions, the employer shall
take technical and/or organisational measures appropriate to the nature of
the operation, in order of priority and in accordance with the following
the prevention of the formation of explosive atmospheres, or where
the nature of the activity does not allow that,
the avoidance of the ignition of explosive atmospheres, and the
mitigation of the detrimental effects of an explosion so as to ensure the
health and safety of workers.
measures shall where necessary be combined and/or supplemented with measures
against the propagation of explosions and shall be reviewed regularly and,
in any event, whenever significant changes occur.
of explosion risks
In carrying out the obligations laid down in Articles 6(3) and 9(1) of
Directive 89/391/EEC the employer shall assess the specific risks arising
from explosive atmospheres, taking account at least of:
the likelihood that explosive atmospheres will occur and their
the likelihood that ignition sources, including electrostatic
discharges, will be present and become active and effective,
the installations, substances used, processes, and their possible
the scale of the anticipated effects.
risks shall be assessed overall.
Places which are or can be connected via openings to places in which
explosive atmospheres may occur shall be taken into account in assessing
ensure the safety and health of workers, and in accordance with the basic
principles of risk assessment and those laid down in Article 3, the employer
shall take the necessary measures so that:
explosive atmospheres may arise in such quantities as to endanger the health
and safety of workers or others, the working environment is such that work
can be performed safely,
in working environments where explosive atmospheres may arise in such
quantities as to endanger the safety and health of workers, appropriate
supervision during the presence of workers is ensured in accordance with
the risk assessment by the use of appropriate technical means.
Where workers from several undertakings are present at the same workplace, each employer shall be responsible for all matters coming under his control.
prejudice to the individual responsibility of each employer as provided for
in Directive 89/391/EEC, the employer responsible for the workplace in
accordance with national law and/or practice shall coordinate the implementation
of all the measures concerning workers’ health and safety and shall state,
in the explosion protection document referred to in Article 8, the aim of
that coordination and the measures and procedures for implementing it.
where explosive atmospheres may occur
The employer shall classify places where explosive atmospheres may occur
into zones in accordance with Annex I.
2. The employer shall ensure that the minimum requirements laid down in Annex II are applied to places covered by paragraph 1.
necessary, places where explosive atmospheres may occur in such quantities
as to endanger the health and safety of workers shall be marked with signs
at their points of entry in accordance with Annex III.
carrying out the obligations laid down in Article 4, the employer shall
ensure that a document, hereinafter referred to as the ‘explosion
protection document’, is drawn up and kept up to date.
The explosion protection document shall demonstrate in particular:
the explosion risks have been determined and assessed,
adequate measures will be taken to attain the aims of this Directive,
places which have been classified into zones in accordance with Annex I,
places where the minimum requirements set out in Annex II will apply,
that the workplace and work equipment, including warning devices, are
designed, operated and maintained with due regard for safety,
explosion protection document shall be drawn up prior to the commencement of
work and be revised when the workplace, work equipment or organisation of
the work undergoes significant changes, extensions or conversions.
requirements for work equipment and workplaces
Work equipment for use in places where explosive atmospheres may occur which
is already in use or is made available in the undertaking or establishment
for the first time before 30 June 2003 shall comply from that date with the
minimum requirements laid down in Annex II, Part A, if no other Community
Directive is applicable or is so only partially.
Work equipment for use in places where explosive atmospheres may occur which
is made available in the undertaking or establishment for the first time
after 30 June 2003 shall ccmply with the minimum requirements laid down in
Annex II, Parts A and B.
Workplaces which contain places where explosive atmospheres may occur and
which are used for the first time after 30 June 2003 shall comply with
minimum requirements set Out in this Directive.
Where workplaces which contain places where explosive atmospheres may
occur are already in use before 30 June 2003, they shall comply with the
minimum requirements set out in this Directive no later than three years
after that date.
If, after 30 June 2003, any modification, extension or restructuring is
undertaken in workplaces containing places where explosive atmospheres may
occur, the employer shall take the necessary steps to ensure that these
comply with the minimum requirements set out in this Directive.
to the annexes
technical adjustments to the annexes made necessary by:
adoption of Directives on technical harmonisation and standardisation in the
field of explosion protection, and/or
progress, changes in international regulations or specifications, and new
findings on the prevention of and protection against explosions,
be adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 17 of
of good practice
Commission shall draw up practical guidelines in a guide of good practice of
a non-binding nature. This guide shall address the topics referred to in
Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, Annex I and Annex II, Part A.
Commission shall first consult the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and
Health Protection at Work in accordance with Council Decision 74/325/EEC (1).
the context of the application of this Directive, Member States shall take
the greatest possible account of the above-mentioned guide in drawing up
their national policies for the protection of the health and safety of
States shall, on request, endeavour to make relevant information available
to employers in accordance with Article 11, with particular reference to
the guide of good practice
Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and
administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive not
later than 30 June 2003. They shall forthwith inform the Commission
Member States adopt these measures, they shall contain a reference to this
Directive or shall be accompanied by such reference on the occasion of
their official publication. The methods of making such reference shall be
laid down by the Member States.
Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the
provisions of domestic law which they have already adopted or adopt in the
field governed by this Directive.
States shall report to the Commission every five years on the practical
implementation of the provisions of this Directive, indicating the points
of view of employers and workers. The Commission shall inform thereof the
European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and
the Advisory Committee on Safety, Hygiene and Health Protection at Work.
Directive shall enter into force on the day of its publication in the Official
Journal of the European Communities.
This Directive is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Brussels, 16 December 1999.
Parliament The President
the Council The President
OF PLACES WHERE EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERES MAY OCCUR
following system of classification must be applied to places where
precautions in accordance with Articles 3,
4, 7 and 8 are taken.
1. Places where
explosive atmospheres may occur
A place in which an explosive atmosphere may occur in such quantities as to require special precautions to protect the health and safety of the workers concerned is deemed to be hazardous within the meaning of this Directive.
place in which an explosive atmosphere is not expected to occur in such
quantities as to require special precautions is deemed to be non-hazardous
within the meaning of this Directive.
and/or combustible substances are considered as materials which may form
an explosive atmosphere unless an investigation of their properties has
shown that in mixtures with air they are incapable of independently
propagating an explosion.
of hazardous places
places are classified in terms of zones on the basis of the frequency and
duration of the occurrence of an explosive atmosphere.
The extent of the measures to be taken in accordance with Annex II, Part A, is determined by this classification.
Layers, deposits and heaps of combustible dust must be considered as
any other source which can form an explosive atmosphere.
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPROVING THE SAFETY AND HEALTH PROTECTION
POTENTIALLY AT RISK FROM EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERES
classified as hazardous in accordance with Annex I whenever required by
the features of workplaces, workstations, the equipment or substances used
or the danger caused by the activity related to the risks from explosive
in non-hazardous places which is required for, or helps to ensure, the
safe operation of equipment located in hazardous places.
Training of workers
employer must provide those working in places where explosive atmospheres
may occur with sufficient and appropriate training with regard to
Written instructions and permits to work
required by the explosion protection document:
to work must be issued by a person with responsibility for this function
prior to the commencement of work.
Explosion protection measures
Any escape and/or release, whether or not intentional, of flammable
gases, vapours, mists or combustible dusts which may give rise to
explosion hazards must be suitably diverted or removed to a safe place or,
if that is not practicable, safely contained or rendered safe by some
other suitable method.
If an explosive atmosphere contains several types of flammable
and/or combustible gases, vapours, mists or dusts, protective measures
shall be appropriate to the greatest potential risk.
2.3. Prevention of ignition hazards in accordance with Article 3 must also take account of electrostatic discharges, where workers or the working environment act as charge carrier or charge producer. Workers must be provided with appropriate working clothes consisting of materials which do not give rise to electrostatic discharges that can ignite explosive atmospheres.
2.4. Plant, equipment, protective systems and any associated connecting devices must only be brought into service if the explosion protection document indicates that they can be safely used in an explosive atmosphere. This applies also to work equipment and associated connecting devices which are not regarded as equipment or protective systems within the meaning of Directive 94/9/EC if their incorporation into an installation can in itself give rise to an ignition hazard. Necessary measures must be taken to prevent confusion between connecting devices.
All necessary measures must be taken to ensure that the workplace,
work equipment and any associated connecting device made available to
workers have been designed, constructed, assembled and installed, and are
maintained and operated, in such a way as to minimise the risks of an
explosion and, if an explosion does occur, to control or minimise its
propagation within that workplace and/or work equipment. For such
workplaces appropriate measures must be taken to minimise the risks to
workers from the physical effects of an explosion.
Where necessary, workers must be given optical and/or acoustic
warnings and withdrawn before the explosion conditions are reached.
Where required by the explosion protection document, escape
facilities must be provided and maintained to ensure that, in the event of
danger, workers can leave endangered places promptly and safely.
Such verification must be carried out by persons competent in the field of
explosion protection as a result of their experience and/or professional
Where the risk assessment shows it is necessary:
must be possible, where power failure can give rise to the spread of
additional risks, to maintain equipment and protective systems in a safe
state of operation independently of the rest of the installation in the
event of power failure,
override must be possible in order to shut down the equipment and
protective systems incorporated within automatic processes which deviate
from the intended operating conditions, provided that this does not
compromise safety. Only workers competent to do so may take such action,
operation of the emergency shutdown, accumulated energy must be dissipated
as quickly and as safely as possible or isolated so that it no longer
constitutes a hazard.
CRITERIA FOR THE SELECTION OF EQUIPMENT AND PROTECTIVE SYSTEMS
the explosion protection document based on a risk assessment does not
state otherwise, equipment and protective systems for all places in which
explosive atmospheres may occur must be selected on the basis of the
categories set out in Directive 94/9/EC.
particular, the following categories of equipment must be used in the
zones indicated, provided they are suitable for gases, vapours or mists
and/or dusts as appropriate:
zone 0 or zone 20, category I equipment,
__ in zone I or zone 21, category I or 2 equipment,
zone 2 or zone 22, category I, 2 or 3 equipment
Member States may add other explanatory data if they wish
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