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ATEX stands for atmosphères explosibles. It’s a European Union directive from the European Committee for Standardization that covers “equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.” An atmosphere can be explosive for several reasons, including flammable gases, mists or vapors, or combustible dust.
All equipment and protective systems intended for this type of use in the EU must meet ATEX health and safety requirements. In this way, the directive is similar to an OSHA or NEC standard in the United States.
Equipment manufacturers whose products are intended to be used in Europe are responsible for making sure their equipment complies with ATEX standards. This process involves conformity assessment procedures and certification by a third party called a “Notified Body.”