The ATEX Directives (ATEX stands for atmosphere explosive) are important because, unlike the previous European directives concerning hazardous areas, they are New Approach Directives and are thus mandatory rather than advisory.
There are two ATEX (European) directives, one concerning equipment and protective systems for use in potentially explosive atmospheres and one concerning the safety and health of workers potentially at risk from exposure to explosive atmospheres.
ATEX Directive (94/9/EC)
The ATEX Directive (94/9/EC) concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres is mainly of interest to the equipment manufacturer and supplier although there are some aspects (mainly associated with the availability of spares and stock items) which will be of concern to the equipment user.
ATEX Directive (1999/92/EC)
The ATEX Directive (1999/92/EC) concerning the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from exposure to explosive atmospheres is of concern to those operating plant or sites which involve hazardous areas.