Electrical

ATEX Regulations

What are the ATEX regulations for explosive atmospheres?
Explosions have the potential to cause loss of life, severe injuries and serious damage to property, so designers and manufacturers of relevant machines such as electric motors have a responsibility to adhere to the ATEX directive.
What is ATEX?
The ATEX directive combines two EU regulations:

ATEX Product Directive 94/9/EC, for product design and construction
ATEX 99/92/EC, covering hazardous environments.

ATEX was introduced in 1996 on a voluntary basis and become complusory from 1 July 2003.
What does ATEX stand for?
ATEX takes its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères Explosives.
How is ATEX equipment graded?
Equipment to be used in potentially explosive atmospheres (i.e. where there is gas, vapours or dust present) is graded as follows:

Group I (mines)

M1 – For use above and below ground where equipment must remain operational should an explosion occur
M2 – As with M1 but designed to disconnect in the event of an explosive atmosphere.

Group II (surface)

Category 1 – The highest level of protection, for permanently explosive atmospheres
Category 2 – For equipment used where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur.
Category 3 – Providing protection where explosive atmospheres are unlikely or infrequent.

What are the ATEX zones?
ATEX classifies zones in three categories:

Zone 0 (gas) / 20 (dust) – Permanently explosive atmosphere requiring Category 1 equipment
Zone 1 (gas) / 21 (dust) – Occasional explosive atmosphere requiring Category 2 equipment
Zone 2 (gas) / 22 (dust) – Explosive atmosphere occurs during abnormal conditions and requiring Category 3 equipment.

 

CE Markings

ATEX Frequently asked questions

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Electrical Fatality Statistics

Electrical Fatality Statictics

 

Source: Electrical Fatality Statistics – Health and Safety Authority

Each number shown above represents a person killed due to electricity.

The actual occurrences that led to the deaths are set out in the enclosed table of Elec_Fatalities_2014. This table gives a brief description of each fatal incident (though details of certain recent fatalities have not yet been included).

The Electro Technical Council of Ireland (ETCI), and in particular, their Technical Committee dealing with Safety (TC5), monitors all aspects of electrical safety in the country and also issue several publications on the entire area of electrical safety.
Dangers of Electricity
Working with electricity can be dangerous. Engineers, electricians, and other workers deal with electricity directly, including working on overhead lines, electrical installation and circuit assemblies. Others, such as office workers, farmers, and construction workers work with electricity indirectly and may also be exposed to electrical hazards.
How Electric Current affects the Body
Electric Current affects the body when it flows through. The basic unit of current is the amp. This is the current which flows through a resistance of 1 ohm (Ω) when a voltage of 1 volt is applied across it. However, currents as low as thousandths of amps (milliamps) can have an adverse effect on the body. The table  below gives an illustration of the types of effects various levels of currents can have on the body.

Shock Physiological Effects

Electric Current
(1 second contact)
Physiological Effect

1 mA
Threshold of feeling, tingling sensation.

5 mA
Accepted as maximum harmless current

10-20 mA
Beginning of sustained muscular contraction (“Can’t let go” current.)

100-300 mA
Ventricular fibrillation, fatal if continued. Respiratory function continues.

6 A
Sustained ventricular contraction followed by normal heart rhythm. (defibrillation). Temporary respiratory paralysis and possibly burns.

– See more at: Electrical Fatality Statistics at HSA

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Which home appliances most likely to catch fire?

Are some appliance brands more dangerous than others?
Which? reveals the home appliances most likely to catch fire

We found that 175 Hoover washing machines caught fire between January 2011 and March 2014 – 12% of the number of fires recorded for washing machines overall (excluding models where the brand wasn’t identified). Based on our market intelligence, we think Hoover’s market share is probably less than 12%, making its number of fires for this appliance type disproportionately high.

In another example, Hotpoint accounts for 38% (410) of dishwasher fires recorded where the brand could be identified. We think Hotpoint’s share of the dishwasher market is likely to be less than 38%, meaning more Hotpoint dishwashers caught fire than we would expect.

Hotpoint told us it doesn’t agree with our market-share figures and believes it’s inaccurate to draw conclusions from a relatively small number of incidents where the cause of fire is not always investigated. Hoover said it cannot establish conclusions from the data we provided.

Click to read the full article: Are your appliances dangerous?
Do product recalls work?
The products we buy must be safe and, if they’re not, manufacturers must recall them. But we believe it’s possible for some manufacturers to drag their feet when issuing a recall.

Beko recalled around 480,000 of its fridge freezers after it was established that they contained a faulty component – but not before one of its fridge freezers started the blaze that caused the death of Mr Santosh Benjamin Muthiah in November 2011.

At the inquest into Mr Muthiah’s death, it came to light that independent risk assessors highlighted the issue two years and five months before Beko publicly recalled the products.
When product recalls fall short
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘It’s shocking that […]

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Electric shock put cinema operator in court

Electric shock
Electric shocks put cinema operator in court. A cinema operator in the UK has been fined after two employees received an electric shock from a popcorn machine.

Manchester Magistrates Court fined Cineworld Ltd. £9,000, plus costs, after two members of staff at its Didsbury multiplex received electric shocks from a machine that keeps popcorn warm.

After one employee received a shock, management were alerted, but failed to isolate the machine or post warning notices to stop staff using it. Later the same day, a second worker was shocked when he turned the machine off.

An investigation by Manchester City Council found the machine had a faulty switch and a panel missing, meaning a live circuit board was exposed. Neither worker was seriously injured by the shocks, but the court heard that they could have been fatal.

Cineworld Cinemas pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

See more at M.E.N

PAT Testing or Portable Appliance Testing covers virtually anything that can be plugged into a 110Volt, 240Volt, 415Volt socket.

PAT Testing is a safety test for any electrical item with a plug. It is basically a repeat of the tests carried out by the manufacturer before the item left the production line. The PAT tests should be carried out on items with a plug top from kettles, computers, photocopiers, microwaves, extension leads to larger items such as vending machines. At IPAT we also carry our Microwave Testing that determine if there are any leaks in your Microwave Oven.

Health & safety Act 2007 SI-299 requires all portable appliances to be tested periodically to verify their safe for use.

IPAT Ltd. will ensure peace of mind for our clients and will set up a schedule for […]

Visual Inspection in Maintaining the Safety of Electrical Equipment

The Role of Visual Inspection in Maintaining the Safety of Electrical Equipment 02 February 2015
Current health and safety guidance on the use of workplace equipment puts even greater emphasis on effective visual inspection, says Willie Cody of IPAT Ltd

There has long been considerable evidence that faulty electrical appliances in the workplace consistently pose a serious threat to people and property through accidents, injuries and fire hazards. There is also indisputable evidence that the periodic in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment prevents injuries, saves lives and avoids workplace fires that would otherwise be devastating for those involved.

This situation has not changed – but the clear message from organisations suc

h as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the IET (through its Code of Practice for the In Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment) is that electrical equipment maintenance regimes should be based on a more focused and robust approach to assessing the safety risks posed by appliances.

The sentiment behind the recent guidance follows concern that the implied

legal requirement for maintaining the safety of electrical appliances was being applied too broadly and disproportionately, resulting in situations of costly over compliance, particularly in more benign working environments.

As a result, the clear message now is that only when the extent of the potential hazard associated with a particular item of electrical equipment has been assessed and understood can it be managed through a programme of inspection and testing.

Minimising the risk

The legal requirements relating specifically to the use and maintenance of electrical equipment are contained in the Health and Safety at Work Act. These Regulations apply to all work activities involving electrical equipment. They place duties on employers, the self-employed and employees (subsequently referred to as ‘dutyholders’) to control […]

Electrical Competence

Electrical Competence:
Electrical Competence….Some say “I’m a good electrician, but I don’t have the qualifications to prove it!” Many client organisations and consequently employers are growing in their awareness of the requirement to prove that individual electrical workers are competent. Most public sector tender prequalification questionnaires continue to show a trend towards precise interest in the specific competency of individual electrical workers.

So why keep up to date?

You will improve your understanding of current requirements, make better decisions, spot threats and opportunities and prepare yourself or your business to be PQQ ready.
Secondly, keeping up-to-date is key to building and improving your reputation. By developing expertise in your  job and your industry, you’ll earn the trust and respect of customers.
Finally, it will alert you to changes that may just give you and your employer an edge when comes to winning a tender opportunity.

Training can be a significant cost both in terms of time and money to any business or individual. However, failure to train and update yourself or your workforce may cost a lot more in lost opportunities.

IPAT Qualifications:

Fire Alarm Testing for both Conventional and Addressable Systems ( Advanced, Morley and CTEC Certified),
Emergency Lighting Testing (BESS & FETAC Level 6 Certified),
Periodic Inspection Testing of Electrical Systems(ECSSA Certified),
Portable Appliance Testing of any Appliance with a plug on it (110v, 230V, 415V) NSAI Certified &
Thermal Imaging (ASNT Certified, American Society of Non-destructive Testing).
ATEX EX14 Certified

 

Are you electrically competent. If you say you are an electrician, be prepared to prove it.  Better training, means better electricians. Better electricians, means happier customers, repeat business and renewed tendering opportunities.

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Health and Safety at Work Act – Part 3 Electricity