Two Minute Tips  

What Is Intrinsic Safety and ATEX?

Chris Hansford | Managing Director, Hansford Sensors

What Is Intrinsic Safety and ATEX?

What is intrinsic safety?

Intrinsic safety (IS) is a low-energy signalling technique that ensures the safe operation of electrical equipment in hazardous areas by limiting the energy – both electrical and thermal – available for ignition.

Why is this important?

Explosive atmospheres can be caused by flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts. Using intrinsically safe equipment in these environments reduces and minimises the risk of ignition and explosion.

This is critical for two main reasons:

  1. To protect employees from harm and assets from damage
  2. To comply with EU legislation relating to the control of explosive atmospheres – known as the ATEX Directives.

What are the ATEX Directives?

The ATEX Directives stipulate stringent requirements for the use of electrical and mechanical components of instruments in hazardous areas.

The ATEX directives consist of two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:

  • Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’)
  • Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’).

These directives are relevant for any industry, environment and application found to be at risk of explosion – from the process industries and mining, to the manufacture of powders and industrial woodworking.

Failure to comply with the ATEX Directives puts personnel and assets at significant risk and can result in serious penalty for any business found to be guilty of non-compliance.

What types of products are available in ATEX-approved form?

With condition monitoring an essential part of maintenance, there is a wide range of ATEX-approved equipment in the form of accelerometers and vibration analysers available to meet your vibration monitoring needs.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About the Author

Chris Hansford Managing Director, Hansford Sensors

Chris Hansford is a qualified electromechanical engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the vibration monitoring industry. In 1986, he was involved in the formation of a sensor manufacturing company and, as Managing Director for 20 years, successfully grew the business and gained a wealth of commercial experience within the UK market. In 2006, Chris moved on to set-up Hansford Sensors Ltd, a manufacturer of accelerometers and ancillary equipment that has already become a global market leader. Learn more about Hansford Sensors: