Significant and controversial changes to explosive atmospheres installation and inspection standards

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Recent updates to the two main IEC standards associated with electrical installations are the biggest changes in over a decade and will affect all new installations. All new installations should comply with the latest IEC or BS EN standards, and everyone associated with the design, selection, installation, inspection and maintenance of electrical equipment for use in explosive atmospheres needs to be fully up-to-speed.
Stock image
Stock image
As and when updates to the standards are introduced, it doesn’t make much of a ripple; the only people who are aware of the changes are the people who need to use the standards. The introduction of the IEC 60079-14 and IEC 60079-17 standards has caused and will continue to cause more of an impact, not so much a ripple but a large wave.

In some aspects the situation regarding the interpretation of the various clauses of the standards has been made clearer, however in others, the changes have made it less clear or, at worst, confusing. This is especially so with the UK introducing Annex NA which has introduced variability.

The aim has always been one global standard, but the UK is now out of step not only with Europe but also with the rest of the World. Annex NA is tucked away at the back of the standard (after the bibliography – which is normally the last item in the standard) and Annex NA is informative only.

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