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How to make ATEX explosive environment cleaning safe

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

As one of our services for facilities management (FM) companies, we deliver ATEX explosive environment cleaning safely and effectively.

ATEX environment cleaning from REACT Specialist Cleaning

Facilities management (FM) companies operate across different sectors and with a whole host of different buildings in their portfolios. As a result, they need an entire range of specialist cleaning services. So of course, it makes sense for them to outsource to the experts. In an occasional series of blogs, we’re going to focus on some of the services that we can deliver for FM companies. In the first of the series, we’re looking at a particularly challenging area: ATEX explosive environment cleaning.

When removing dust is more than just about hygiene

More often than not, dust and dirt doesn’t cause danger to life – although it is unsightly and can certainly be unhygienic. But in extreme cases, dust explosions can cause injury or even death, especially with combustible dust in certain types of industrial activity and large-scale food preparation. In the UK, this type of accident is 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, or 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. These 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 release or build-up of dangerous substances which can create explosive atmospheres. And secondly, you can prevent sources of ignition by using the correct equipment.

What the regulations say about 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, the Regulations place specific duties on employers with workplaces where explosive atmospheres may occur.

ATEX explosive environment cleaning is a key element of health and safety

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 that 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 specially 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.

Sodexo Core Vendor for specialist cleaning services

REACT supplies a full range of reactive cleaning and decontamination services to Sodexo, one of the world's leading facility management companies.

To find out more about REACT Specialist Cleaning and our ATEX explosive environment cleaning services, contact one of the team today.

  • Telephone: 01283 550 503

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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.


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