The main industries at risk of explosions and fires in their facilities are detailed in this article. All of them will have classified zones, in accordance with what is explained in the Atex Zone Classification

1. Chemical industry

In the chemical industry, flammable gases, liquids and solids are transformed and used in a multitude of processes. Explosive mixtures can form in these processes.

  • Sulfur production and handling plants.
  • Work, handling and storage areas.
  • Places where volatile flammable liquids are transferred from one container to another.
  • Premises with open or openable flammable liquid tanks.
  • Pump or compressor rooms for flammable gases or liquids.
  • Facilities where flammable gases are produced, handled, stored or consumed.

2. Landfills

Flammable gases can form in landfills. To prevent these from escaping uncontrollably and becoming ignited, important technical measures are required. In poorly ventilated tunnels, basements, etc. Flammable gases can accumulate from various sources. Solid urban waste generates explosive dust.

3. Power plants

With the transport, grinding and drying of chopped coals, which are not explosive due to their size, coal dusts are generated that can form explosive dust / air mixtures. Biomass and other solid fuels are explosive. H2-cooling of alternators poses a risk of explosion.

4. Wastewater treatment companies

Digestion gases generated in sewage treatment in sewage plants can form explosive gas / air mixtures. Dried sludge is also explosive.

5. Gas supply companies

In the event of natural gas leaks or similar, explosive gas / air mixtures may be formed.

6. Woodworking industry

When working with wooden parts, wood dusts are generated that can form explosive dust / air mixtures in filters or in silos.

7. Painting and enamelling workshops

The spray mist that forms when enamelling surfaces with paint guns in lacquering booths, as well as the released solvent vapors, can cause an explosive atmosphere in contact with air. Powdery pigments can be very explosive.

8. Manufacture of light metal parts and metalwork shops

In the manufacture of metal molding parts, their surface treatment (grinding) can generate explosive metal dusts, especially in the case of light metals (Aluminum, Titanium, Magnesium, etc.).

These metallic powders can cause explosion hazards in separators and other operations.

9. Agricultural facilities

Biogas generation facilities are used on some farms. In case of leaks, explosive biogas / air mixtures may be formed. Forage dehydrators, almond hullers and other similar installations generate explosive atmospheres.

10. Vehicle repair

Normally the amounts of flammable products are small and confinement and ventilation make classification unnecessary. However, in general, the possibility of the formation of explosive atmospheres should be analyzed if there are significant amounts of flammable materials.

11. Laundries and dry cleaners

Laundry and dry cleaning areas with flammable liquids

12. Food industry

The transport and storage of flours, grains and derivatives can generate explosive dusts. If these are aspirated and separated into filters, an explosive atmosphere may appear in the filter.

  • Grease and oil extraction sites that use flammable solvents.
  • Material dryers with flammable solvents.
  • Work, handling and storage areas.
  • Among the combustible powders we have flour and derivatives, starch, sugar, cocoa, milk and egg powder, spices, etc.
  • Bakery flour factories.
  • Manufacture of bread and bakery products.

13. Pharmaceutical industry

Alcohols are often used as solvents in pharmaceutical production. Solid active substances and explosive auxiliaries can also be used, for example lactose, vitamins, paracetamol, etc.

14. Refineries

The hydrocarbons handled in refineries are all flammable and, depending on their flash point, can cause explosive atmospheres even at room temperature. The environment of the oil transformation equipment is almost always considered an area with a risk of explosion.

15. Waste recycling industries

The treatment of recyclable waste can entail risks of explosion due to containers not completely emptied of their content of flammable gases or liquids or due to paper or plastic powders.

16. Textile and related industry

  • Warehouses and shipping docks (bags or containers)
  • Textile treatment areas, such as cotton.
  • Fiber manufacturing and processing plants.
  • Cotton ginning plants.
  • Flax processing plants.
  • Dressmaking workshops.

17. Premises where flammable chemical products are used

  • Places where volatile flammable liquids are transferred from one container to another.
  • Premises with open or openable flammable liquid tanks.
  • Pump or compressor rooms for flammable gases or liquids.
  • Facilities where they handle, store or consume flammable gases.

18. Agricultural industries

  • Manufacture of compound feed.
  • Preparation of vitamin-mineral correctors.
  • Silos for storage of cereals. Among the combustible dusts we have cereals, grains and derivatives, starch and hay.
  • Cereal dryer and alfalfa dehydrators.

19. Forest and related industries

  • Wood sawmills.
  • Manufacture of paper and cellulose.
  • Work, handling and storage areas.

In view of this diversity of activities in which the ATEX risk is present, and its harmful consequences that can translate into personal injury, fire and destruction of plants, loss of equipment, production stoppages with loss of sales and share of market, loss of corporate image, etc., a continuous disclosure of the procedures for the correct implementation of the preventive action included in the legislation is necessary.