IECEx Certification of Personnel Competency

Paul Boughton

After a number of years in the planning, the new IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competency is off the ground.

Baseefa is the first Certification Body within the new scheme to have satisfied the IECEx Assessors that it is capable of operating across all 10 units of competency recognised by the scheme.

Plant owners now have an opportunity to use a worldwide standard for judging whether or not the staff they employ to install, inspect and maintain their plant are truly competent for the purpose.

In Europe, the ATEX 'User' Directive 1999/92/EC reinforces the statements in the international standards in the IEC 60079 series, parts 10, 14, 17 and 19 which refer directly to the requirement to have competent people. This applies to those in charge of the operations (responsible persons) as well as the hands-on people (the operatives).

The 10 units of Competence, most of which can be subdivided in relation to the protection concepts or the management level of the individual are:

- Basic principles of Ex Protection.

- Classification of Hazardous Areas.

- Installation of Equipment and Wiring Systems.

- Maintaining Equipment.

- Overhaul and Repair of Equipment.

- Testing Electrical Installations.

- Visual and Close Inspection.

- Detailed Inspection.

- Designing Installations.

- Auditing of Installations.

In addition to a stringent written examination with a combination of multiple choice and extended answer questions, many of the units also have a practical test, spotting and correcting installation errors on actual hardware.

But competence is more than simply being able to sit an exam after training. It is about the sustained ability to correctly apply the knowledge and skills gained during both formal and on-the-job training. The IECEx Scheme requires validated evidence of how an individual has been performing in their 'day job' and this evidence is updated on a regular basis as part of certification maintenance. Baseefa's secure Competency Certification web site makes this process easy.

Although Baseefa has offered related training for many years, and continues to do so, it is important that the training activity is separated from the certification activity and Baseefa's procedures ensure that necessary separation.

At recent meetings, both Total and Petronas have put their weight behind the scheme and have indicated that once sufficient operatives have the IECEx Certificate, possession of the certificate will become a necessity for access to their sites across the world.

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Baseefa Ltd is based in Buxton, Derbyshire, UK.



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