Obligations and responsibilities of operators of electrical installations

There is not any technical system that functions safely per se and maintains the original functionality without interventions from the outside during its entire service life even if it has been designed, manufactured and tested extensively and carefully. 

Apart from the design of a product and an adequate production quality, a correct installation and a preventive maintenance are also important, which registers all types of external influence on the product during its entire service life in suitable inspections in order to revert as far as possible the negative impact on functionality and safety by applying appropriate measure. To a greater extent than with technical products from the industrial and consumer goods sector, all product characteristics relevant for product safety have to be taken into account in addition to the mere technical functionality with safety-related products such as explosion-protected electrical equipment (e.g. lights or switches). The high safety level required for operation in potentially explosive environments can only be guaranteed if delivered products are of adequate quality, are installed and operated according to the instructions of the manufacturer and are maintained at regular intervals. As in other safety-critical areas, the cooperation of manufacturers and operators under the surveillance of the corresponding public institution is relevant for explosion protection. 

Erection and operation

Equipment used in hazardous areas has to be classified in zones, according to the degree of danger in regard to the probability of the occurrence of a potentially explosive atmosphere. For this purpose IEC developed two standards.

IEC 60079-10-1
Classification of areas – explosive gas atmospheres

IEC 60079-10-2
Classification of areas – combustible dust atmospheres

Further standards are available for erection and operationof electrical installations:

IEC 60079-14
Design, selection and erection of electrical installations

IEC 60079-17
Inspection and maintenance of electrical installations

IEC 60079-19
Equipment repair, overhaul and reclamation