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Safety Unleashed: Exploring the Core Units of Competence in IECEx CoPC Certification

27-Nov-2023
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What is COMPETENCE ?

Competence is the effective application of knowledge and skills in alignment with workplace performance standards. It encompasses a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of work, extending beyond specific skills. Competent individuals are not only proficient in their assigned tasks but also exhibit awareness of workplace hazards, ensuring safe practices. They possess the ability to navigate diverse scenarios with confidence and precision. Additionally, competence involves the correct and judicious use of equipment, reflecting a mastery that goes beyond mere technical skills. In essence, competence encapsulates a holistic and adept approach to work, emphasizing both skill proficiency and a keen understanding of safety considerations.

What is the element of COMPETENCE?

Competency in working with Ex equipment hinges on three key elements: off-the-job qualifications, on-the-job experience, and ongoing, relevant training both on and off the job. Qualifications provide foundational knowledge, on-the-job experience allows for practical application, and continuous training ensures up-to-date skills. Together, these components create a well-rounded competence, enabling individuals to work safely in proximity to explosive atmosphere equipment.

The IECEx Core Units of Competence

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Credit: IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence Slides Via IECEx website

The "Ex 000: Electrical Equipment in Potentially Explosive Atmosphere – Basic Principles" course aims to equip individuals entering sites with classified hazardous areas with essential safety knowledge. The objectives include understanding the nature of hazardous areas, limitations on devices in such areas, and occupational health and safety responsibilities. This unit emphasizes codes, standards, and competency schemes, covering protection techniques, work culture, risk management, and documentation.

The course spans one day, with an optional external assessment on day two. Prerequisites are minimal, making it suitable for any job associated with hazardous areas. Successful participants receive the IECEx Ex Facility Orientation Certificate (EFOC) from Exert Certification Norway. The focus is on hazardous area aspects of occupational health and safety, complementing other required competencies.

Ex 001:The "Apply Basic Principles of Protection in Explosive Atmospheres" course aims to provide foundational knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the IECEx CoPC Ex 001 competency examination. The objectives include an in-depth understanding of codes, standards, and competency schemes, as well as the concepts and features of various protection techniques. 

The course covers characteristics of explosive materials, Ex area classification, basic explosion protection requirements, and HSE guidelines for working in explosive atmospheres. Participants will also learn about regulations, responsibilities, and certification systems for Ex equipment, along with Ex protection methods and equipment labeling. The one-day course, with an optional 3-hour external assessment on day two, has no specific technical education requirements but recommends knowledge of hazardous area equipment and certification schemes, coupled with experience in hazardous environments. Upon successful completion, participants receive a Course Completion Certificate. Capeserve Energy facilitates enrollment in Ex 001 assessments conducted by ExCB upon participant request. Fees for assessments are to be advised.

Ex 002: The "Perform Classification of Hazardous Area" course is designed to impart knowledge and skills for classifying areas with explosive materials and to prepare individuals for the competency assessment of IECEx CoPC Ex 002. The course objectives include an in-depth understanding of codes, standards, and competency schemes, as well as various protection techniques. Participants will gain detailed knowledge of properties of explosive gases and vapors, combustible dusts, and hazardous area classification procedures. The course covers data gathering and analysis, gas groups, temperature ratings of explosion-protected electrical equipment, documentation of hazardous area zones, and an overview of explosion-protection techniques. 

The one-day course, with an optional external assessment on day two, requires competence in a technical subject at the degree, diploma, or equivalent level. The area classification should be conducted by individuals familiar with flammable material properties, the process, equipment, and qualified engineering personnel. Successful participants receive the IECEx Certificate of Competence for Ex 002 from Exert Certification Norway. Capeserve Energy facilitates enrollment in Ex 002 assessments conducted by ExCB upon participant request, with fees to be advised.

Ex 003 & Ex 006: The "Explosion Protection Equipment Installation & Testing" course is designed to equip personnel involved in the installation and testing of electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres. This preparatory course is geared towards enhancing existing knowledge and skills to prepare for IECEx CoPC Ex 003 & Ex 006 assessments. The objectives include comprehensive knowledge of global codes, standards, competency schemes, and the features of various protection methods. Participants will gain an understanding of equipment verification for installation suitability, diverse installation practices for different zone ratings, and online/offline equipment testing. 

The course, based on the competence requirements outlined in OD 504 with a focus on IEC 60079-14, covers topics specific to IECEx certification for Unit 003 (Installing Ex Equipment) and Unit 006 (Testing Ex Installations). The one-day course, with an optional external assessment on day two, requires essential prerequisites such as IECEx CoPC Ex 001 unit competence, technical education or equivalent, and a minimum of 3 years of experience in electrical installation. Successful completion results in a Course Completion Certificate, and Capeserve Energy assists in enrolling participants in Ex 003 & Ex 006 assessments conducted by ExCB upon request, with fees to be advised.

Ex 004, Ex007 & Ex008: The "Maintain Equipment in Explosive Atmosphere & Inspection of Electrical Installation" course is designed for personnel engaged in the inspection and maintenance of electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres. This preparatory course aims to enhance existing knowledge and skills for the preparation of IECEx CoPC Ex 004, Ex 007 & Ex 008 assessments. The objectives include a comprehensive understanding of global codes, standards, competency schemes, and the work culture, procedures, and risk management associated with inspection and maintenance activities. 

The course, based on the competence requirements outlined in OD 504 with a focus on IEC 60079-17, covers topics specific to IECEx certification for Unit 004 (Maintenance of Ex Equipment), Unit 007 (Visual and Close Inspection), and Unit 008 (Detailed Inspection). The one-day course, with an optional external assessment on day two, requires essential prerequisites such as IECEx CoPC Ex 001 unit competence, technical education or equivalent, and a minimum of 3 years of experience in electrical installation. Successful completion results in a Course Completion Certificate, and Capeserve Energy assists in enrolling participants in Ex 004, Ex007 & Ex008 assessments conducted by ExCB upon request, with fees to be advised.

Ex 009: The "Design of Electrical Installation in or Associated with Explosive Atmosphere" course focuses on the explosion protection aspects of designing electrical power, control, and instrumentation systems. It aims to develop the ability to create design briefs and pursue cost-effective explosion protection solutions, preparing participants for IECEx CoPC Ex 009 assessment. The course outcome includes detailed knowledge of explosion protection aspects related to electrical system design, instrumentation and control systems, equipment selection, and installation. 

Based on the competence requirements outlined in OD 504, with emphasis on IEC 60079-14, the course covers hazardous area classification basics, project-specific design requirements, safety, functional and economic considerations, equipment selection, designing of electrical wiring systems, and documentation for statutory/regulatory approval. The one-day course, with an optional external assessment on day two, requires essential prerequisites such as IECEx CoPC Ex 001 unit competence, a degree or diploma in relevant technical education, and a minimum of 3 years of experience in electrical installation design. Successful completion results in a Course Completion Certificate, and Capeserve Energy assists in enrolling participants in Ex 009 assessments conducted by ExCB upon request, with fees to be advised.

IECEx Certification Process OVERVIEW

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Credit: IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence Slides Via IECEx website 

IECEx Certification Process STEPS

To attain IECEx certification, applicants need to follow a structured process:

  • Choose Ex Competence Unit(s): Select the specific Ex Competence unit or units relevant to their role and responsibilities in hazardous environments.
  • Select an IECEx Certification Body (ExCB): Choose an IECEx Certification Body that aligns with the desired certification process and standards.
  • Complete and Submit Application Form to Selected ExCB: Fill out the application form for the chosen Ex Competence unit(s) and submit it to the selected IECEx Certification Body.
  • ExCB Confirms Acceptance of Application: The selected ExCB reviews the application and confirms its acceptance, initiating the certification process
  • Applicant Successfully Completes the Knowledge Assessment: Undergo a knowledge assessment for each requested Ex Competence unit, demonstrating a thorough understanding of theoretical principles and standards.
  • Applicant Successfully Completes the Practical Skills Assessment (if required): For Ex units that necessitate practical skills assessment, applicants showcase their ability to apply knowledge in real-world scenarios.
  • ExCB Issues IECEx Certificate and IECEx ID Card: Upon successful completion of assessments, the ExCB issues the IECEx Certificate, acknowledging the individual's competence. Additionally, an IECEx ID card may be provided for identification purposes.

The Process Of Selecting an ExCB

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Credit: IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence Slides Via IECEx website 

Knowledge Assessment: The knowledge assessment  exam consists of multiple choice questions  and constructed questions.

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Credit: IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence Slides Via IECEx website 

The Practical Skills Assessment is a crucial component of the certification process for certain units, where individuals' abilities to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios are evaluated. Here are examples of practical skills assessments for specific units:

  • Unit Ex 002: Zone Classification in Gas and Dust Areas: Assessment involves the practical application of skills in classifying zones in both gas and dust environments.
  • Unit Ex 003: Installation of Equipment (e.g., 'd' Enclosure, 'e' Terminal Box, Intrinsic Safety Barriers, and Sensors): Assessment includes hands-on tasks such as installing various equipment, including 'd' enclosures, 'e' terminal boxes, intrinsic safety barriers, and sensors, while following a wiring diagram.
  • Unit Ex 004: Maintenance of Installation: Practical skills are assessed through tasks related to the preparation, checking, and reporting involved in the maintenance of installations.
  • Unit Ex 005: Repair of a Motor: Assessment focuses on the ability to perform the practical tasks associated with the repair of an electric motor.
  • Unit Ex 006: Installation Testing (Preparation, Conducting Testing, and Writing the Report):The assessment involves hands-on activities such as preparing for installation testing, conducting the tests, and accurately documenting the results in a comprehensive report.

These practical skills assessments ensure that individuals not only have theoretical knowledge but can effectively apply it in real-world situations. The ability to perform these tasks demonstrates competence and readiness to work safely in environments with explosive atmospheres. Successful completion of both knowledge and practical skills assessments leads to the issuance of the IECEx Certificate, signifying the individual's proficiency in the specified units.

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Credit: IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence Slides Via IECEx website

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Credit: IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence Slides Via IECEx website 

Safety and Excellence: Ultech Engineering's Commitment to IECEx Certification

Ultech Engineering underscores its dedication to safety and excellence through the pursuit of IECEx certification for its personnel. Certification in units such as Ex 001, Ex 002, Ex 003, Ex 004, Ex 005, Ex 006, Ex 007, Ex 008, and Ex 009 ensures a rigorous assessment of both theoretical knowledge and practical skills in handling explosive atmospheres. With a minimum of 80% correctness in knowledge assessments and correct demonstrations in practical skills, Ultech Engineering personnel showcase their proficiency and adherence to global safety standards. This certification not only reflects the company's dedication to safety protocols but also positions it as a leader in responsible engineering practices within hazardous environments.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on IECEx CoPC Certification

1. What is IECEx CoPC Certification?

IECEx CoPC Certification is a globally recognized certification that validates an individual's competence in working with electrical equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres. It signifies the mastery of essential knowledge and skills required for ensuring safety in hazardous environments.

2.0 Why is IECEx CoPC Certification Important for Safety?

IECEx CoPC Certification is crucial for maintaining safety standards in environments with explosive atmospheres. It ensures that personnel possess the necessary expertise to handle and work safely with electrical equipment, minimizing risks and adhering to global safety standards.

3.0 What Are the Core Units of Competence Covered in IECEx CoPC Certification?

IECEx CoPC Certification covers core units such as Ex001, Ex 002, Ex 003, Ex 004, Ex 005, Ex 006, Ex 007, Ex 008, and Ex 009. Each unit focuses on specific aspects, including zone classification, equipment installation, maintenance, and design, ensuring a comprehensive skill set

4.0 How Is Knowledge Assessed in IECEx CoPC Certification?

Knowledge is assessed through a thorough examination that includes multiple-choice questions and constructed questions. The assessment evaluates an individual's understanding of theoretical principles, standards, and specific unit requirements, with a minimum correctness percentage set for successful completion.

5.0 What Practical Skills Are Evaluated in IECEx CoPC Certification?

Practical skills assessments are integral for units like Ex 002 (zone classification) and Ex 003 (equipment installation). These assessments involve hands-on tasks, demonstrating the application of theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, ensuring individuals can effectively and safely apply what they've learned.

6.0 Are There Prerequisites for IECEx CoPC Certification?

Yes, there are prerequisites for IECEx CoPC Certification. These include specific unit competencies, technical education or equivalent qualifications, and a minimum number of years of experience in relevant fields. These prerequisites ensure that candidates have a solid foundation before pursuing certification.

7.0 How Does Ultech Engineering Support Its Personnel in IECEx Certification?

Ultech Engineering hosts local preparatory courses and assessments in partnership with Capeserve Energy at Sabah and Sarawak to later on conduct assessments before the appointed personnel passes the evaluation and receives an official certificate from Exert Certification body to be a hazardous environment competent person.

For top-tier safety and expertise in explosive atmospheres, choose Ultech Engineering. Empower your team with IECEx certification. Contact us now for safer, smarter operations.

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