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Ron Sinclair, Technical Manager at SGS Baseefa in Buxton recently attended the European Commission Workshop on the new ATEX Directive. Here Ron clarifies the position on Declaration of Conformity (DoCs):

"We have previously said that there is very little in the new ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU for manufacturers to worry about, and this was confirmed at the European Commission Workshop which I attended in Brussels on 30 September.

The one area in which action is required, and which has been the subject on which we have been waiting on a pronouncement from the Commission, concerns Declarations of Conformity (DoCs).

The implication in the wording of 2014/34/EU is that on 19 April 2016 the DoC must refer to 94/9/EC but that on 20 April 2016 the reference must be to 2014/34/EU, and that to refer to both directives in the same DoC was not acceptable.

The Commission have been struggling to find a solution to this awkward state of affairs that would be acceptable in respect of all the directives being re-cast at the moment as a result of the “New Legislative Framework”. What they have eventually agreed (after over a year of discussion) is eminently sensible.

With immediate effect, a manufacturer can issue a DoC using the format required by 2014/34/EU (which is slightly different from the older 94/9/EC directive format) and indicate the validity dates of each directive.

For Example:

        EU Declaration of Conformity No XXXX

        This declaration is valid for Directive 94/9/EC until 19 April 2016

        This declaration is valid for Directive 2014/34/EU from 20 April 2016

The Commission have also confirmed, although it is not as clear in the text of the new directive as it is in the original, that lists of harmonised and non-harmonised standards used to support the Essential Health and Safety Requirements should be indicated separately. Each non-harmonised standard listed should be accompanied, on the DoC, by a brief statement in justification. The justification should be given in full in the Technical File.

As the Essential Health and Safety Requirements of both directives are identical (bar a very few minor editorial corrections) the good news is that the new directive explicitly allows the use of certificates issued to 94/9/EC to support 2014/34/EU. There is, therefore, no need to request that certificates are re-issued to the new directive.

From 20 April 2016 Notified Bodies must refer to their notification status under the new directive, so there will be a change to some of the text on the front page of supplementary certificates as well as on new certificates. However, the Commission have confirmed that there is no mandatory reason why new certificate numbers need be issued. Therefore a supplement, or a new issue of an old certificate issued after April 2016, can retain its existing (pre-2016) number.

There are some other minor issues that will affect importers of products from outside the EU, and we will review these, along with a full critique of the new directive, in a further briefing note."

Ron Sinclair

Technical Manager

The full text of both directives is freely available at
http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/mechanical-engineering/atex/