ATEX in the UK: What are the UKEX Regulations?

The official title of the UKEX Regulations is The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2016

The original purpose of the Regulation was to enact into UK Law the requirements of the European ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU. However, with the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, any products or systems placed on the market in the UK that would previously have been declared in conformity with the ATEX Directive will need to meet the UKEX Regulations instead.*

What Are The Differences Between the UKEX Regulations and the ATEX Directive?

Initially, the technical requirements of the UKEX Regulations will be identical to those of the ATEX Directive. That is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.

Though the methods of demonstrating conformity for the UK Regulations and EU Directive will remain broadly similar, if you are applying both the UK Regulations and EU Directive you will need to apply for each one separately.

For example, if the conformity assessment process requires the involvement of a Notified Body for the EU ATEX Directive, the involvement of a UK Approved Body (UKAB) will be required for the UKEX Regulations. In most cases UK Approved Bodies have close links with associated EU Notified Bodies and can provide a dual certification process. 

Do The UKEX Regulations Apply To Me?

The Regulations apply to any product that is placed on the GB market or brought into service and is intended for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere.

It is the responsibility of the owners and operators of workplaces to determine whether potentially explosive atmospheres are likely to form in the facilities they are responsible for. In the UK this is done by applying the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002. 

If it is found that there is a risk of a potentially explosive atmosphere forming in a workplace or other location, only equipment that conforms to the UKEX Regulations can be used in that environment.

If you currently apply the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU to your products, either as standard because of the industry sectors you regularly supply to or periodically when specific customers have requested that you do so, you will need to comply with the UKEX Regulations for any product you sell into the GB market.

How Do I Comply With UKEX Regulations?

The Regulations provide a list of Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) that the equipment, protective system or component must comply with. The Regulations cover both electrical and non-electrical (mechanical) products that generate their own ignition source. To comply with the Regulations, the manufacturer or responsible party shall do the following:

  • Show compliance with the EHSRs by designing their equipment to comply with the applicable UK Designated Standards, or other suitable standards.
  • Produce a UK Technical File which includes all the information / evidence required to demonstrate compliance with the EHSRs / relevant standards.
  • Depending on the required Ex Category / Zone of use, perform the relevant compliance procedure. This can require employing a 3rd party UK Approved Body to provide an UK-Type Examination Certificate.
  • Mark the product with the UKCA Mark and relevant explosion protection symbol, protection concept and associated scope of use marking.
  • Create and supply a UK Declaration of Conformity or Assertation of Conformity for each product placed on the GB market.

*UKCA only applies in England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland.

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How can Technology International Help?

With over 30 years of experience, Technology International are specialist regulatory compliance consultants and can help you and your company understand and apply the requirements and obligations of the UKEX 2016 Regulations.

We can provide complete solutions in-house for all Ex equipment categories, and by partnering with UKABs we can assist in gaining UK-Type Examination Certificates for applications where this is a mandatory requirement.

Our services include:

  • Determining if products fall under the UKEX Regulations
  • Developing complete Technical Files to demonstrate conformity with the UK Regulations
  • Delivery of UKEX, ATEX, IECEx Training Courses.
  • On-going UKEX, ATEX, IECEx related Technical Support
  • Area Classification (in-directly)
  • Quality Assurance Notification / Quality Assessment Report (UKEX-ATEX QAN / IECEx QAR).
  • Ex Installation design, inspection and maintenance guidance and advice.

*Note: The UK government intends to extend recognition of the CE marking for placing most goods on the market in Great Britain (GB), indefinitely, beyond December 2024. 

Read more about this recent update on the UK government website.