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We are problem solvers. We are organisers. From the project start-up to the very final evaluations and analysis, we can bring enthusiasm to each and every part of your project.

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06 Jun 2018

The forgotten standard: Why we can no longer ignore BS EN 80079-36

It’s July 2003. The summer that Beyoncé was Number 1 in the charts with ‘Crazy in Love’ (yes that was 15 years ago), and two pretty important EU safety directives were issued. Then largely ignored.

What were they?

ATEX 95 (94/9/EC) & 137 (99/92/EC) required that organisations in the EU should follow the directives to protect employees from explosion risk in areas with an explosive atmosphere. They required that such organisations should carry out risk assessments on equipment located within hazardous areas for potential ignition sources. This, crucially, included non-electrical (mechanical) equipment as well. It was stipulated that “operators have until 30 June 2006 to complete the whole process and bring their existing facilities into compliance.”

Maybe it was the Queen Bey effect – who knows – but large swathes of UK industry did nothing very much in response.

 

 

 

 

Disappointing uptake

This lethargy is difficult to explain. Organisations perhaps believed that they had enough controls in place with routine maintenance and inspections to pay the requirements an acceptable lip service. Admittedly, the formal process of risk assessment was neither obvious or easily implemented. Nor, for that matter, was it governed. But that has now changed. 

Spec Revamp

In Feb 2016, the shiny new BS EN 80079 (-36 & -37) standard was published. This replaced two earlier attempts to address the issue in 2001 and 2009 with the BS EN 13463 suite. The revamped BS EN 80079 provides greater clarity, but still has a long way to go to bring it up to standard with the Electrical side of DSEAR Regs. That being said, with the rigorous support of the industry and the HSE, BS EN 80079 (-36 & -37) is being enforced far more stringently. So, it’s time to get compliant.

A parallel with GDPR?

We’ve seen this kind of thing before. Think about the parallels between the Data Protection Act of 1998 and the current GDPR frenzy, here in 2018. You’d hear the Data Protection Act mentioned maybe once a year, grumbled about over the dregs of a Friday night pint after work. It didn’t feel like a huge concern. Compare with GDPR: it’s a talking point, a headline, a national responsibility – a hashtag, no less. The Data Protection Act never achieved that level of fame. But just you watch – the red carpet is brushed off and ready for BS EN 80079.

What next?

Some industries are responding well – many offshore platforms, petrochemical plants, mines, and flour mills have worked hard and already achieved compliance. Now it’s time for the UK gas industry to do the same. And swiftly.  

Need help?

QEM Solutions can help you on your journey to compliance with BS EN 80079 (-36 & -37). And you can contact us here.