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`Motor users are not ready for ATEX`

01 June, 2006

`Motor users are not ready for ATEX`

Many motor users in the UK are not properly prepared for the ATEX 137 regulations that come into force this summer. This is the verdict of Brian Austick, ABB`s LV motors specialist. "In particular, we are finding that users that have hazardous atmospheres with combustible dust are behind in their preparations," he says. "This includes industries with wood dust, as well as those handling flour and grain - bakeries and breweries, for instance."

Austick attributes this low awareness to the fact that industries involving combustible dust were not covered by the previous regulations. "By contrast," he adds, "the oil and gas industries, which have worked with hazardous areas for years, are well advanced in their preparations."

By 1 July, users have to install ATEX-approved equipment in all hazardous areas, or carry out risk assessments on their existing equipment. ATEX 137 will make end-users responsible for the safety of equipment in hazardous areas on their sites. Some of the responsibility can be delegated to equipment manufacturers, provided they have the appropriate documentation.

The new regulations will make the site`s safety manager personally responsible for safety. There will be severe penalties for negligence.

Employers will have to take measures to prevent explosive atmospheres from forming. If this is not possible, they will have to take measures to avoid potentially explosive atmospheres from igniting. In addition, the effects of any explosion must be minimised.

The earlier ATEX 95 regulations, implemented in 2003, placed responsibilities on manufacturers to supply equipment offering suitable protection for the level of hazard.

To help motor users find out more about ATEX, ABB has set up a UK "panic line" on 078 0292 3649, which will be answered by one of its ATEX experts 24 hours a day. Although aimed mainly at ABB`s own customers, the service will also be available to other motor users.

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