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Frequently Asked Questions Article Series

Frequently asked questions about Explosion protection

878 494 Stefanie Moschkau

The weyer gruppe’s range of services extends across numerous areas and covers a wide variety of problems. For our clients and interested parties, experience has shown that these services and the associated regulations can raise a number of questions. This series of articles is intended to provide clarity and answer the respective frequently asked questions.

Today’s article “Frequently Asked Questions” is about explosion protection. In the last part we dealt with CE marking according to the Machinery Directive.

If your question is not answered here, you have the possibility to ask us within the framework of afree initial consultation.

Frequently asked questions in the field of explosion protection

If hazardous explosive mixtures can form in the area of the plant under consideration, it must be regarded as an “Ex plant”. The occurrence of hazardous explosive mixtures must be assessed withoutthe inclusion of protective measures.

I.e. even if no hazardous areas (Ex zones) are defined in a plant due to (explosion) protection measures (technical ventilation, inerting …) which prevent the formation of GGE, this plant is an Ex plant and these protection measures must be checked accordingly.

When handling hazardous substances, a risk assessment (GBU) must always be carried out. The Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (GefStoffV) does not mention “de minimis limits”. In this GBU, however, it can be concluded on the basis of TRGS 510 “Storage of hazardous substances in portable containers” that, depending on the classification of the hazardous substance (H-phrases), no special protective measures that go beyond the general requirements of a hazardous substance storage facility are necessary.

This is the case, for example, for extremely flammable liquids (H224) in quantities ≤ 10 kg. For ≤ 200 kg, extended requirements for the hazardous substance storage are still sufficient. However, for > 200 kg, special protective measures (explosion protection) must be implemented.

Yes, according to §14 (2) GefStoffV, employees must be instructed verbally about all hazards that occur and the corresponding protective measures, this also includes hazards due to explosions. The instruction can take place within the framework of the occupational health and safety instruction.

The risk assessment for hazards from explosions must be presented in the explosion protection document. All risk assessments must be reviewed regularly in accordance with §6(10) GefStoffV and updated immediately in the event of significant changes.

For systems in which hazardous explosive atmospheres can occur, the minimum inspection intervals are specified in the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV) Annex 2 Section 3 No. 5. This BetrSichV has been in force since 2015. For installations that were commissioned before 1 June 2012, a transitional period applied until 01 June 2018, by which time these installations had to be inspected on a recurring basis.

In the case of hazardous explosive mixtures, test intervals are to be specified in the GBU; they are not bound to the test intervals of the BetrSichV, although these are generally useful as a reference value.

No, the explosion protection document is the risk assessment (GBU) according to §6(9) GefStoffV and only considers hazards due to explosions. The GBU according to §3 BetrSichV considers all hazards that can occur during use with work equipment and therefore includes other hazards. However, reference can be made to the explosion protection document for the item “Hazards due to explosions”.

No, it is not mandatory to graphically illustrate the Ex zones identified in the explosion protection document in a plan. However, it is a very helpful means of displaying the Ex zones clearly and at a glance, thus making it easier to implement them in the operational process.

It is basically up to the employer how he wants to organise this. Here, too, there are no specifications. Depending on the size of the enterprise, it may be clearer to consider parts of the site in a partial explosion protection document and to draw up a superordinate document for all partial documents in which measures and basic principles are defined that apply to all.

If measurement and control technology is used to monitor explosion protection measures, it must be carried out in accordance with TRGS 725. TRGS 725 thus replaces the former classification of EMSR technology according to VDI 2180 Part 6.

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Verena Hoppe
weyer group | horst weyer und partner gmbh
Düren | Deutschland
Tel.: +49 2421 – 69 09 10
E-Mail: v.hoppe@weyer-gruppe.com

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