An Ex area is an environment where flammable liquids, vapours, gases or combustible dust are likely to occur in quantities sufficient to cause a fire or explosion.
When thinking of explosive environments, it is natural to imagine places such as oil refineries, oil rigs, chemical factories, gas and oil pipelines and underground mines. Most of these places seem far removed from and well beyond the normal day-to-day living environment of the average city resident. But explosive environments are, in fact, much closer to our daily lives than we might think. Car refuelling stations are explosive environments. So are parts of airports and hospitals and sewage treatment works.
Some parts of the factories or industries in which we work also contain explosive environments. For example metalworking factories, paint and surface coating industries, printing, paper and textile industries, woodworking areas, grain silos, sugar refineries, and so on.
ATEX Ex EXPLOSION PROOF EQUIPMENT
The pyramid of risk for explosive and hazardous environments will depend on the nature of the Ex area. Loss of equipment is an almost inevitable consequence of an explosion. This, of course, can lead to production disruptions, loss of revenues and human casualties. Toxic fires or spills can have important environmental consequences. Loss of life is a high-risk factor. And in the case of gas factory or oil refinery explosions, critical infrastructures can be damaged or destroyed, with the potential to affect an entire national or regional economy.
In such dangerous and disastrous situations, to avoid or minimize the risks associated with explosive environments, heavy government regulation is sometimes used. Such regulations frequently run into conflict with the World Trade Organization’s objectives, by creating technical barriers to trade. This eventually gives a rise to using Ex certified equipment (Explosion proof) to avoid the mentioned terrible situations.