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One of the highest risks to industries that manage solid 'combustible' materials is dust explosion. All combustible materials dispersed in the atmosphere at certain conditions under the influence of an ignition source, may ignite causing fire or explosion.


Indicative installations where relevant risks may arise are:

  • Food industries
  • Grain mills
  • Cement factories
  • Chemical industry
  • Metal processing
  • Pharmaceutical industries


Hazardous areas may be created in storage silos, pneumatic conveying systems, ventilation filters etc.

In these areas when an ignition source is created (from smoking, static electricity, spark, hot work, etc.) a fire or explosion may occur.

The explosions may lead to serious employee injuries and major facilities loss.

P.D. 42/2003  in compliance with Directive 1999/92/EC (ATEX), sets out the minimum requirements for improving the protection of workers' health and safety who are potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.

Through P.D. 42/2003 and ATEX Directive the main obligations of the employer are determined concerning explosion protection. The employer must therefore:

  • Identify and assess explosion risks.
  • Define specific measures to protect the safety and health of workers.
  • Ensure a safe working environment and appropriate supervision according to the risk assessment.
  • Implement the necessary coordination measures when different employers work at the same workplace (contractors, suppliers etc).
  • Conduct a detailed explosion risk assessment.
  • Conduct an area classification study.
  • Use only ATEX certified equipment in the hazardous areas.
  •  Develop an Explosion Protection Document.


The methodology for development of an Explosion Protection Study includes the following steps:


Determination of intended use

At this stage the process parameters are analyzed. Indicatively some of the data reviewed:

  • Flammability properties of materials.
  • Drawings of the facilities.
  • Process flow diagrams
  • Pipeline and instrumentation diagrams (P & IDs).
  • Electrical installation plans.
  • List of equipment that falls within ATEX directives.
  • Certificates / standards / process equipment operation manuals.


Area Classification

At this stage release sources of flammable substances are identified and the risk areas are classified to zones according to PD 42/2003 and the relevant international standards.

The Hazardous Zones are presented in drawings.

Explosion risk assessment

An evaluation (assessment) of the risks arising from explosive atmospheres is conducted considering:

  • The likelihood of explosive atmospheres creation.
  • The possibility of presence and activation of ignition sources, including electrostatic discharges.
  • Facilities, substances used, processes and their possible interactions.
  • The severity of the impacts.


Development of an Explosion Protection Document

The Explosion Protection Document is prepared according to the P.D. 42/2003 taking into account of the outcome of the phases mentioned above.

The Explosion Protection Document includes:

  • Description of the installations.
  • Description of the production process.
  • Description of the materials used / safety parameters.
  • Evaluation of the equipment used.
  • Classification of hazardous areas and assessing of explosion risks.
  • Guide of explosion proof characteristics of the equipment installed in hazardous areas.
  • The results of the Explosion Risk Assessment.
  • The explosion protection measures.
  • Safety instructions and good practice guide for work in hazardous areas.
  • Appendices with relevant procedures, etc.


Process Engineering Ltd can provide superior service to its customers and undertake the necessary processing phases of the project in order to achieve compliance with the requirements of P.D. 42/2003.

For more information please contact the Studies Department of Process Engineering Ltd.

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Available positions:

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