Third party certified ATEX fans, ensuring safety in potentially explosive atmospheres.


An ATEX certified fan from Woodcock & Wilson Ltd will give you confidence that the fan supplied has been assessed by an approved notification body.

This certifications ensures the fan is safe, manufactured to the strictest European standards, and designed to meet the specific type of explosive or hazardous environment that it is intended to operate in, whilst also reducing the need and cost of additional testing.

Key Features Of An ATEX Fan

Fan units must be designed and manufactured in accordance with BS EN 14986: 2017, design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres.

This is a specific standard that sets out requirements for design, manufacture, testing and labelling of fans for use in potentially hazardous areas, often referred to as ATEX centrifugal fans.

Download our ATEX Fan Spec Sheet

What is an ATEX fan?

An ATEX certified fan is a fan that has been constructed in accordance with the mandatory directive 2014/34/EU of the European Parliament relating to equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The fan is certified to safely operate in an ATEX rated hazardous or explosive atmosphere.

Due to the high potential for ignition of a fan CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation commissioned a harmonised manufacturing standard, BS EN 14986: 2007, design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres; to which all relevant ATEX certified fans, including Centrifugal, Axial and Mixed Flow should comply.

BSEN 14986 : 2007 has now been superseded by BS EN 14986 : 2017.

As of July 2003, it has been a mandatory legal requirement that organisations within the EU must follow the directives to protect employees from explosion risk in areas with an explosive atmosphere.

ATEX derives its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive (now superseded by 2014/34/EU): Appareils destinés à être utilisés en Atmosphères Explosibles. Put simply, ATEX stands for ATmosphere EXplosibles – or explosive atmospheres.

With the ATEX directive, category 2 and 3 mechanical equipment can be self-certified by the manufacturer. This contrasts with the IECEx scheme, where not only the equipment supplied, but the manufacturer’s design and production has been independently assessed and approved.

Category 3 Equipment

Option 1: No quality assurance needs to be held by the manufacturer, and the ATEX product can be self-certified; but a technical file must be created and held on file by the manufacturer (NOTE 1).

Option 2: The manufacturer produces the ATEX rated product which carries third-party certification from a notified body.

Category 2 Equipment

Option 1: Manufacturer must hold official accreditation to ISO9001: 2015, and the ATEX product can be self-certified, but the technical file must be submitted to a notified body (NOTE 1).

Option 2: Manufacturer must hold official accreditation to ISO9001: 2015, and the ATEX rated product carries third-party certification from a notified body.

Category 1 Equipment

Manufacturer must hold official accreditation to ISO9001: 2015, and the product MUST be third-party certified by a notified body.

NOTE 1: Equipment that is self-certified is less desirable than equipment that has third-party notified body certification. A self-certified product will pass joint responsibility of the suitability of the product to meet the ATEX directive into the supply chain, along with any legal liability. A third-party notified body certified product takes all responsibility and liability from the supply chain, where responsibility to comply purely lies with the manufacturer and notified body.

Woodcock & Wilson’s manufactured range of industrial centrifugal and axial fans carry third-party certification from a notified body.

Where are ATEX fans used?

ATEX fans are used largely within Europe in areas where there is a possibility of an explosive atmosphere forming either within the airstream or externally to the fan. The use of ATEX fans is to prevent ignition of these atmospheres during operation. Ignitions can and do cause both harm to individuals and large scale property damage. It is therefore of high importance that the right equipment is installed in these environments.

What is EN14986?

EN14986 is a CEN developed standard for the design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres. Uniquely amongst certified non-electrical equipment the scope of this standard is purely fans, allowing a standard of detail that better guarantees design safety when applied correctly.

The standard was created to specify the particular design procedures that should be utilised to build a fan safe for operation in these hazardous environments.

Woodcock and Wilson’s technical director advised CEN/TC 305/WG 2 during drafting of the standard, giving a strong grounding for Woodcock and Wilson’s application of the standard to its ATEX fans.

See this article about ATEX and EN14986 for more information.

What is ATEX and IECEx?

ATEX is mandatory in EU countries, and allows for self-certification.

IECEx is an international standard, seen as best practise outside the EU, and does not allow for self-certification.

See the risks of self-certified ATEX non-electrical equipment v IECEx certified non-electrical equipment

Learn more about our IECEx certification in this interview 

How do I know if a fan is ATEX?

ATEX fans are labelled in a standard format setting out what environment they are designed for. This will show what ATEX categories and dust and/or gas groups the fan is suitable for. Also the maximum surface temperature.

ATEX fans can be either self-certified or certified by an independent body. In either case any documentation supporting the ATEX compliance of a fan is to be supplied by the manufacturer.

Unless the fan itself has been constructed to meet the relevant standards, EN14986, EN80079-36/37 then the fan cannot be considered ATEX compliant. It is essential that a review of the associated documentation provided with the fan is checked. Beware of a hazardous area fan which has simply been fitted with an ATEX motor and labelled as compliant.

Any declaration of conformity must list the relevant standards the fan has be manufactured to. Note as a minimum if the following standards are not listed on the declaration, the product might not be ATEX certified.

BS EN 14986:2017 Design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres

BS EN ISO 80079-36:2016 Explosive atmospheres. Non-electrical equipment for explosive atmospheres. Basic method and requirements

BS EN ISO 80079-37:2016 Explosive atmospheres. Non-electrical equipment for explosive atmospheres. Non-electrical type of protection constructional safety ”c”, control of ignition sources ”b”, liquid immersion ”k”

How to check my fan is ATEX certified

  • Fan hazardous area certification should show compliance with BS EN 14986: 2017
  • Beware of product only using the certification from the electrical equipment. ATEX covers both mechanical and electrial equipment
  • Dedicated ATEX documentation with regard to operation, installation and maintenance
  • Clearances between rotating elements and fan casing
  • Rigid impeller construction with over-speed capacity
  • Spark minimisation using correct material pairing
  • Dedicated fan ATEX nameplate
  • Anti-static protection through correct earthing

What are the risks of self-certification?

Although the ATEX directive allows for equipment to be self-certified by the manufacturer or a technical file lodged with a notified body without review, this leaves the user at greater risk of incident as the safety of the fan relies on the understanding & correct application of the standards by the manufacturer with no external checks or reviews of these standards. Ultimately the labelling and documentation of self-certified ATEX equipment must be taken on trust. In matters of safety, particularly when dealing with equipment potentially causing an explosion, relying on trust can be classed as dangerous & irresponsible.

The question is “are you willing to accept equipment for a hazardous area which has had no review of its technical file?”

A 3rd party review of the technical file provides assurance that the safest solution has been provided.

See this Poster about the risks of self-certification for more information.

What does ATEX mean for your business?

OEM and end users are responsible for ensuring compliance to the ATEX directive. Failure to comply could carry heavy fines and custodial sentences.

Authorities can force a recall or replacement of any non-compliant equipment. ATEX is a safety standard, and non-compliant equipment has the potential to cause death or serious injury