Irish Legislation, EU Directives & Standards:

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The following table sets out a non-exhaustive list of Irish Legislation relevant to workplaces with potentially explosive atmospheres. Also included, where relevant, is  the EU Directive or Regulation that the legislation is derived from.  

Irish Legislation 

EU Directive

Part 8 of the 2007 Safety Health & Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations.99/92/EC ATEX - Worker Directive (Potentially Explosive Atmospheres)
S.I. No. 230/2017 - European Union (Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres) Regulations 20172014/34/EU  ATEX - Products Directive (Potentially Explosive Atmospheres)

2006/42/EC  The Machinery Directive


2014/68/EU  Pressure Equipment Directive (PED)

The following Irish Standards / European Norms will assist in giving guidance to compliance with relevant legislation.

Standard Number


EN 12100

Safety of Machinery - General Principles for Design. Risk Assessment and Risk Reduction
ISO 13849Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems
ISO 13850Safety of machinery - Emergency stop - Principles for design
EN 953General requirements for design and construction of Guards
EN 1088Interlock devices associated with Guards
EN 60204Safety of machinery. Electrical equipment of machines
EN 61508Functional Safety of electrical / electronic / programmable electronic safety related systems
EN 61511Functional Safety instrumented systems for the process industry sector
EN 60079Electrical Standards for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres
EN 80079Non-Electrical Standards for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres
EN 1127Explosive atmospheres - Explosion prevention and protection

I.S. 10101National Rules for Electrical Installations
I.S. 3217Emergency Lighting
I.S. 3218Fire Detection & Alarm Systems

Primary Legislation:

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The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 states that:

“Every employer shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees”

Sample key extracts as follows:

“ensuring, so far as it is reasonably practicable, the safety and the prevention of risk to health at work of his or her employees relating to the use of any article or substance or the exposure to ……….. or any ………… physical agent"

"obtaining, where necessary, the services of a competent person (whether under a contract of employment or otherwise) for the purpose of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees"

“………… identifying the hazards in the place of work under his or her control, assessing the risks presented by those hazards and being in possession of a written assessment (to be known and referred to in this Act as a “risk assessment”) of the risks to the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees, including the safety, health and welfare of any single employee or group or groups of employees who may be exposed to any unusual or other risks under the relevant statutory provisions”


SCHEDULE 3 – General Principles of Prevention:
1. The avoidance of risks.

2. The evaluation of unavoidable risks.

3. The combating of risks at source.

4. The adaptation of work to the individual, especially as regards the design of places of work, the choice of work equipment and the choice of systems of work, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work rate and to reducing the effect of this work on health.

5. The adaptation of the place of work to technical progress.

6. The replacement of dangerous articles, substances or systems of work by safe or less dangerous articles, substances or systems of work.

7. The giving of priority to collective protective measures over individual protective measures.

8. The development of an adequate prevention policy in relation to safety, health and welfare at work, which takes account of technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social factors and the influence of factors related to the working environment.

9. The giving of appropriate training and instructions to employees.

Secondary Legislation: 


The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, Parts 3 and 8 state that:

“Before a workplace containing a place that is classified as hazardous is used for the first time, an Employer shall ensure that the overall explosion safety of the workplace is verified by a competent person”

Furthermore the Regulations state that an Employer must ensure that:

“(b) any condition or conditions that are necessary, ……………., for ensuring protection from explosion, is or are maintained”

Assurance that ongoing protection from the risk of fire and explosion is maintained can only be achieved through systematic identification and checking of potential sources of ignition and minimisation of potential leakage of explosive gases, vapours and dusts.

The Health and Safety Authority Guide to the above regulations is available for download at:

Guide to the SH&WW Regulations S.I. No. 299 of 2007 Part 8: Explosive Atmospheres at Places of Work (.pdf)

As many (but by no means all) sources of ignition are electrical in nature, there are also additional legal requirements associated with the electrical installation which need to be considered.

Regulation 77 of the 2007 Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations (S.I. No 299 of 2007) as amended by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application)(Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 732 of 2007) ) states that:

“An Employer shall ensure that electrical equipment which may foreseeably be exposed to adverse or hazardous environments, ………..any flammable or potentially explosive atmosphere…….. is constructed, installed, maintained and modified or so protected as to prevent danger arising from the exposure”.

Regulation 89 of the 2007 goes on to state that:

“an Employer shall ensure that (b) an existing electrical installation is tested by a competent person in an appropriate manner (i) from time to time” and that “(d) all defects found during the testing and inspection of an electrical installation are rectified promptly so as to prevent danger.………………………….and a report of the test is completed by the competent person carrying out the test,”