Elfab helps food industry to comply with ATEX
Elfab, Europe’s leading manufacturer of bursting panels, has been helping the food industry to comply with changes to the ATEX Directive. All existing hazardous area workplaces in use prior to 30 June 2003 had to meet ATEX’s appropriate minimum requirements by 1 July 2006. While industries handling common explosible dusts – such as flour, custard powder, sugar, instant coffee and dried milk – were already aware of the impending deadline, those working with other materials – including malt and grain – also became subject to the changes and were forced to take immediate action to modify their facilities in time.
Dust explosions in the food industry can cause serious accidents, leading to critical injury, acute structural damage or even death. As a result of changes to ATEX, explosion relief vents must now be fitted on all silos or vessels containing explosive dusts in this industry. The Health & Safety Executive underlines this point in its information sheet ‘Dust Explosions in the Food Industry’, in which it states that “there is no established size of vessel below which explosion reliefs are not required.”
In recent months Elfab has been advising the food industry on changes that needed to be put in place. One example from the malting sector has placed its first ever order for bursting panels; others include customers in sugar storage, grain silos and the brewing industry. Elfab offered advice and assistance while working to tight timescales to meet these companies’ requirements.
All Elfab bursting panels are ATEX-approved with low installation costs, a maintenance-free design, and are supplied in corrosion-resistant materials.
In addition, Elfab is unique in supplying an ATEX-approved detection system as standard with all panels. Panel Flo-Tel™ guarantees fail-safe detection and minimises the risk of spurious alarms. It also enables end-users to comply with the HSE’s recommendation regarding dust explosion precautions: “Equip all explosion reliefs with index switches to close down the plant in the event of explosion relief being activated to prevent the onward transmission of burning material.”