There are many elements to workplace health & safety, and Atex explosive environment cleaning deals with one of the most difficult.
There are many different elements to ensuring workplace health & safety. From guarding against slips, trips, and falls, through to looking after lone workers proactively, employers must assess and mitigate risks daily. But one area that affects some companies is often overlooked. In certain workplaces, even the air itself can be dangerous. How can you best deal with a potentially explosive environment as an employer or outsourced FM company? In this blog, we look at Atex explosive environment cleaning, and how our specialist cleaning operatives can help secure health & safety.
Removing dust: a hygiene concern, or a matter of life and death?
Dust and dirt don’t normally cause danger to life – even if they’re unsightly and (potentially) unhygienic. But certain types of industrial activity and large-scale food preparation can produce combustible dust. In extreme cases, dust explosions can cause injury or even death. In the UK, this type of accident is thankfully rare, although is thought to have been a contributing factor to the fatal Bosley Mill explosion in 2015.
Explosive atmospheres can be caused by flammable gases, mists, or vapours, as well as by combustible dusts. If there is enough of the substance mixed with air, then all it needs is a source of ignition to cause an explosion. Such accidents can cause loss of life and serious injuries, as well as significant damage to property. There are two chief ways of reducing the risks associated with explosive environments. First, you can prevent the build-up of dangerous substances which can create an explosive atmosphere. And secondly, you can prevent sources of ignition by using the correct equipment. In both these areas, REACT can help.
What are the rules around explosive environments?
The regulations surrounding workplaces with potentially explosive atmospheres are often known as Atex. The name derives from two European Directives on health and safety protections for workers, and the type of equipment and protective systems that workplaces must use. In the UK, Atex regulations centre on The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). This places duties on employers to eliminate or control the risks from explosive atmospheres in the workplace.
The requirements in DSEAR apply to most workplaces where a potentially explosive atmosphere may occur. DSEAR requires employers to eliminate or control the risks from dangerous substances. (Further information on these requirements can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s DSEAR page >>). In addition to the general requirements, DSEAR places specific duties on employers with workplaces where explosive atmospheres may occur.
Securing health & safety with Atex explosive environment cleaning
FM companies working with potentially explosive atmospheres will of course be familiar with all the regulations under Schedule 2 of DSEAR. They’ll have classified areas into zones which must be protected from sources of ignition. Equipment and protective systems in zoned areas will need to meet certain critical standards for intrinsic safety. And a key consideration is how to keep such zones as clean as possible to minimise risks further.
Here at REACT, we’ve got the expertise and the equipment to deal with Atex explosive environment cleaning for FM companies. Our specialist Atex cleaning teams are extensively trained and wear anti-static clothing to comply with regulations. We ensure that all our equipment for use in explosive atmospheres is Zone Rated and Atex-approved. Whether we deploy pressure washers, vacuum cleaners, or air-powered jet washers, we’ll remove any potentially problematic particles before they build up. We’re part of the answer when it comes to securing health & safety in explosive workplace environments.
To find out more about REACT Specialist Cleaning and out Atex explosive environment cleaning services, contact one of the team today.
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the CEO of REACT Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene, and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.