ATEX Compliant Provision of In-Line Inspection Services
Proceedings Publication Date
Thomas Beuker
Stephan Wolbeck
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With the introduction of the CE device Directive ATEX 94/4/EC (ATEX 95) and the Occupational Health and Safety Directive ATEX 1999/92/EC (ATEX 137), a uniform legal basis was established for explosion protection within the European Union. The CE directives were completely harmonized and transposed into national law without any modifications.

Whereas the occupational health and safety directives lay down minimum standards, regulations within individual countries may be more stringent. These discrepancies must always be borne in mind when applying directives and taking explosion protection measures. It is the responsibility of the operator to coordinate all activities in potentially explosive areas of their facilities (Ex zones), a task of fundamental importance that includes identifying and defining hazardous zones in the first place. Devices and protection systems for the operator’s own employees and external services providers are selected in accordance with ATEX 95. Similarly, ATEX 137 and / or the applicable national laws provide the framework for determining threats and risks as well as specific protection and monitoring measures, for coordinating all employees in the Ex zones and, finally, for drawing up an explosion protection document.

In-line inspection tools are brought into the pipeline and out again through so called launcher- and receiver facilities. These installations are typically situated in an Ex zone, meaning that the ATEX directives are fully applicable here. Nevertheless, according to ATEX 137, operators are at liberty in their risk assessments to define the most suitable measures for an in-line inspection and to use, for example through zone shifting, special inspection tools which do not comply with ATEX 95. Successful inspections in conformity with the explosion protection regulations are not achieved merely by providing the relevant certified equipment, however. Rather, they require the concerted action of all those involved.

This paper provides an overview of how ROSEN manages to transform the regulatory requirements into a concrete ATEX-compliant pipeline inspection service. It focuses on the development of an in-line inspection tool fleet certificate which provides high flexibility in the configuration of an inspection tool to accommodate specific operating conditions.

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