Technical guidance for ATEX lighting

By: Secom
17 de March, 2022
Reading time: 5 min

ATEX luminaires are designed for use in explosive atmospheres where oxygen combines with flammable airborne substances and where there is a deflagration risk. The lighting in an ATEX zone has to be highly specific to mitigate the effects of any contingency.

In this article we will talk about...

  • 16 areas where ATEX luminaires are mandatory
  • Selecting the right ATEX luminaire
  • ATEX lighting installation guidelines
  • ATEX range at SECOM

16 areas where ATEX luminaires are mandatory

The ATEX lighting regulations are implemented in Spain via royal decrees 681/2003 and 400/1996 together with Directive 2014/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014. Law 31/1995 on workplace risk prevention sets out specific matters related to protecting workers.

ATEX lighting is a legal requirement in the following:

1. Chemical industry

This sector uses flammable substances and there is a high risk of explosion. For example, workstations and storage areas in factories that produce and handle sulfur.

2. Landfill and civil engineering

The flammable gases and waste processed in these areas can generate explosive dust.

Iluminación industria química

3. Fuel suppliers

The transport, grinding and drying of lump coal can generate dangerous coal dust. Biomass and other fuels are also a danger.

4. Waste water companies

Digester gases and dry sludge can explode under certain conditions.

5. Timber industries

Fine wood dust in suspension is a high explosion risk.

6. Painting and varnishing workshops

Spraying during the varnishing process causes a cloud of particles, and paint guns can release solvent vapours. The areas inside the booths are a deflagration risk.

Cabina de pintura

7. Metal parts manufacturing

Metal grinding generates a variety of particles that create a potentially explosive atmosphere.

8. Vehicle repairs

The storage of large amounts of flammable materials in garages and workshops can create an explosive atmosphere.

9. Industrial laundry services

The use of flammable liquids is a clear risk that must be addressed.

10. Food industry

There are various risk areas in this sector. For example, storage facilities for flour, grains and related products, and extraction facilities for fat and oil, both use flammable solvents.


11. Pharmaceutical industry

The various solvents and other products used in this industry can create explosive atmospheres.

12. Waste industries

Packaging not fully emptied of flammable gases or liquids present a risk.

13. Agriculture and livestock sector

Animal feed dehydrators and shelling machines must be used with great care, and fertilisers should be stored and used with caution.

14. Refineries

The hydrocarbons handled in these facilities are flammable and can even present an explosion risk at ambient temperature.

Industria Textil

15. Textiles and related sectors

Warehouses and shipping points are dangerous, as are textile processing and manufacturing facilities and cotton ginning plants.

16. Forestry and related sectors

This sector comprises sawmills, paper and cellulose factories, and storage and handling facilities.

Selecting the right ATEX luminaire

Luminaires should be selected based on lighting quality, energy savings, performance and durability. ATEX LED lighting is much brighter than sodium or mercury vapour lamps and provides more uniform light at the desired colour temperature.

LED technology generates optimal lighting in high risk zones. The luminaires are also highly resistant and durable and have a low maintenance burden. Since lighting can be another potential source of risk in ATEX zones, the luminaires must meet a series of safety requirements set out in European legislation.

Other matters to consider are efficiency, colour rendering and colour temperature, and whether the fixtures should be dimmable, whether a high performance optic is needed, and how easy they are to instal.

Among the technical requirements for these systems, the luminaire housing must be able to withstand an explosion and the internal pressure must be greater than the exterior pressure. Protection systems include oil immersion, powder insulation, encapsulation and anti-spark devices.

Luminaires are classified based on each of the three ATEX zones (0, 1 and 2).


ATEX lighting installation guidelines

There is a series of steps to follow when installing an ATEX lighting system. Here is some advice:

Available luminaires

Choose from a huge variety of LED luminaires for ATEX areas, e.g. surface lights, emergency lighting, recessable fixtures, suspended lights and floodlights.


Lighting systems should be designed under the guidance of an expert professional and should take into account the most dangerous zones, the substances used and the specific risks.

Técnico industria

Identifying needs

Lighting specialists should study the facilities and the work conducted there to assess current lighting needs.

Safety and efficiency

A proper ATEX lighting system will support safety and efficiency in the workplace. LED technology is the best choice since it is highly resistant and consumes less energy.

ATEX range at SECOM

SECOM has an ATEX range specifically designed to perform in areas that pose an explosion or deflagration risk. The luminaires are made from quality, robust materials and are equipped with a reinforced aluminium structure and a safety glass diffuser. These features, along with the efficiency of ATEX luminaires, generate quality lighting that supports the work in these zones, improves safety and creates greater energy savings.

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