Gary Horgan (CMSE Consultancy Manager at the Chris Mee Group) and his team are outlining the path for companies to ensure they are compliant with Part 8 “Explosive Atmospheres at Places of Work” of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 in a series of focused blogs.
This is blog number 14 in the series, written by Danny McSweeney, which discusses the maintenance requirements for ATEX rated equipment.
The importance of maintenance of ATEX rated equipment can not be over-stated. It is vital the equipment and installations are suitable maintained to ensure their integrity. Maintenance comprises repair, servicing and inspection, however, the management of the ATEX equipment includes having and maintaining technical documentation, maintenance planning, and having traceability of any interventions. When equipment is not maintained it may not provide the required level of protection in a hazardous zone. Figures 1, 2 & 3 below show typical examples of poorly maintained ATEX rated equipment.
The applicable standard to be used as a reference for the maintenance of ATEX equipment is:
Prior to implementing verification, maintenance, inspection and testing procedures, the following information shall be available:
Initial inspection takes place during the installation of apparatus. It is stated in BS EN 60079-17 that no equipment shall be put into service” until an initial inspection has been carried out and all significant points addressed. Adequate documentation should be provided to record said inspections. All electrical apparatus, systems, and installations undergo an initial inspection before they are brought into service. Initial inspections must also be carried out on any modifications of equipment.
Sample inspection refers to the inspection of a proportion of the electrical apparatus, systems, and installations of a piece of equipment.
Periodic inspection refers to the routine inspection of all electrical apparatus, systems and installations carried out. Every time a periodic inspection occurs, inspectors must fill out a Periodic Inspection Report. The minimum information required in this report is:
Continuous supervision refers to the frequent attendance, inspection, service, care and maintenance of the electrical installation by skilled personnel who have experience in the specific installation and its environment in order to maintain the explosion protection features of the installation in satisfactory condition.
Visual inspection identifies, without the use of access equipment or tools, defects such as missing bolts, which will be apparent to the eye.
Close inspection identifies aspects covered by a visual inspection and, in addition, identifies those defects, such as loose bolts, which will be apparent only by the use of access equipment.
Detailed inspection identifies aspects covered by a visual inspection and, in addition, identifies those defects, such as loose terminations, which will only be apparent by opening the enclosure, and/or using, where necessary, tools and test equipment
It is expected that the personnel carrying out the inspections are experienced and trained personnel, with knowledge of types of protection, installation practices, and relevant rules and regulations. It is also expected that these personnel have evidence of relevant experience and training (CompEx trained or equivalent).
Flexible cables, flexible conduits and their terminations are particularly prone to damage. Therefore, they must be inspected at regular intervals and shall be replaced if found to be damaged or defective.
If it is necessary, for maintenance purposes, to withdraw apparatus, etc. from service, the exposed conductors shall be;
If the apparatus is to be permanently withdrawn from service, the associated wiring, which shall be isolated from all sources of power supply, shall be removed, or, alternatively, correctly terminated in an appropriate enclosure.
Electrical apparatus in a hazardous area can be adversely affected by the environmental conditions in which it is used. Some of the key elements to consider are corrosion, ambient, temperature, ultraviolet radiation, ingress of water, accumulation of dust or sand, mechanical effects, and chemical attack.
Any maintenance work should be restricted to:
Failures should be categorised as either minor faults or major faults. Someone with the authority to stop the process / production should always be available where a major fault is discovered.
Re-inspection is required after any faults are identified and rectified. It is standard practice that the person that rectified the fault is not assigned to re-inspect said fault.
Detailed inspection requires that risk assessments be carried out to ensure that inspectors are not exposed to hazards during the work. Hazards such as incorrect isolation, unexpected failure of equipment under test, pre-existing faults should be considered.
If, as a user, you modify a piece of equipment, the supplier declaration of conformity and ATEX certification is no longer valid (unless the supplier modifies the equipment at your request).
If you modify the equipment, you are required to certify the modified equipment yourself.
The following tables are included in Annex D of the BS EN 60079-17 standard
Planning and Management of Change:
A. The employer should establish and implement written procedures to manage changes to process, chemicals, technology, equipment, procedures, and changes to facilities that affect a covered process.
B. The procedures should assure that the following considerations are addressed prior to any change:
C. Employees involved in operating a process, maintenance and also contract employees whose job tasks will be affected by a change in the process shall be informed of, and trained in, the change prior to start-up of the process.
CMSE Consultancy provide professional Occupational, Process, Explosion & Fire Safety Services.
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