The challenges of ATEX self certification

June 2nd, 2015

Self-regulation is a process with a poor reputation. Just ask Fifa. The result is that people are reluctant to trust self-policing organisations. Where platform safety is concerned complete trust is essential. But what level of confidence can be attached to a certificate issued by the same company that manufactured the product.

Is ATEX self-certification acceptable or a disaster waiting to happen?

ATEX is the standard that governs safety in potentially explosive working environments (including platforms and underground mines). When it comes to ATEX certification there can be no room for uncertainty. That is why IPU’s ATEX approved starters were put through rigorous 3rd party assessment to achieve certification.

Since launching our first ATEX-approved starter in 1972 it has become clear that ATEX regulations are not always fully understood by the industries they are meant to protect. We have come across numerous instances of inertia starters and aluminium casings being used in environments where they represent a realistic danger to operator health and safety.

If a starter motor has been self-certified but does not meet all of the requirements the results could be catastrophic. If lucky, the result will be as mild as equipment failure but if not, it could lead to the operator suffering injury or a fatality.

Challenges of ATEX Self Certification

A number of factors could impact the quality of an ATEX self certification assessment. Including:

  • A lack of understanding of the standards could lead to an inaccurate assessment.
  • An internal auditor may be under pressure to pass a product.
  • The internal auditor may also be unknowingly biased during the audit process.

IPU’s ATEX approved starter motors are ATEX certified to EN1834-1 and 2 standards through a 3rd party assessment. They achieve compliance through a number of factors including:

  • A cast iron construction to eliminate any aluminium content. Aluminium is banned in most underground mines as it is a key component in a thermite reaction.
  • Pre-engagement between the pinion and the ring-gear. The starter motor waits until the pinion has fully engaged with the engine’s ring-gear before rotating and cranking the diesel engine. This eliminates the risk of sparks being generated by traditional inertia engagement.

For more information visit our page on ATEX starting or call our team on +44 (0) 121 511 0460.

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