Changes are afoot for ATEX certificates
22 March 2011
Speaking at the recent HazardEx conference, International standards expert Ron Sinclair MBE (MD of Baseefa), mentioned some significant points regarding new approach directives . The changes to these directives are likely to impact on international businesses in the hazardous areas market, as he explains...
Ron Sinclair MBE
The European Commission is currently taking "executive action" to align some of the requirements in all the "New Approach" Directives. This includes Machinery, LVD, EMC, as well as ATEX.
Mainly this is an exercise to use identical words to mean the same in each directive, but there are also implications for Notified Bodies as the requirements for Notification are being tightened to make the process more rigorous.
This is something we should strongly support as there has been concern over the varying levels of competence of different Notified Bodies. There is no effective change to the essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs), so no technical change required in any product. However, the Commission have said that the number of the directive will change. This should not affect the product, as the directive number does not appear on the label.
But, (and a very important “but”) it does affect all the related paperwork, including the manufacturer's declaration of conformity, instructions, etc. and the text on the Certificates. It affects all publicity material which refers to the directive by number and all the related training material produced by both manufacturers and Notified Bodies.
At its meeting in January 2011, the UK committee responsible for shadowing ATEX and IECEx matters (L/6/10) made a strong representation to the UK Government's Business Innovation and Skills Department, to try and prevent a change in the number because of the costs involved. The only concession so far obtained from the Commission is a statement that it won't impose undue costs on CEN and Cenelec as it will not insist on a reprint of the standards (to correct the directive number) until they are revised in the normal course of events.
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