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IECEx: a view from the chair (10)

03 February 2016

IECEx chairman Prof. Dr. Thorsten Arnhold says one of the unique benefits of the IECEx system is the worldwide 24/7 availability of IECEx Certificates of Conformity.  Here, he explains how the system works.

From time to time we get asked to provide signed paper certificates as some customers think that this is the only way to provide proof of conformity, but our online system is safe, transparent and customer friendly.

The IECEx Certificate of Conformity on the IECEx website is always the ‘Master Controlled Version’ and any pdf or paper copy is an uncontrolled copy of this master version. The authenticity of any copy of the certificate can be checked by viewing the master version on the IECEx home page

The IECEx Guide Document OD 011-1 available at provides a useful reference to understand the IECEx online certificate and the fields within it.
In some cases it is necessary to add attachments to a certificate to provide additional information, so the user should also check these for proper selection of appropriate equipment and safe use.

It is easy to recognise a IECEx Certificate. All IECEx Certificates and their reference numbers start with the letters ‘IECEx….’ If a certificate number is quoted without these letters, the certificate is not an IECEx Certificate.

The documents are available free of charge from the IECEx homepage and the customer has numerous options to filter the data for research purposes.  IECEx also operates and supports three Mobile Apps for quick and easy access to all IECEx Certificates and these are available from both Apple and Google.  Information on these Apps is available at

IECEx Certificates  are issued by Certification Bodies (ExCBs) appointed by IECEx. These ExCBs have to fulfil a number of preconditions and their Ex Test Reports and Quality Assessment Reports are available on the website. The IECEx head office is responsible for the appropriate infrastructure and ongoing surveillance to ensure all procedures are correct and standards maintained.

A list of IECEx appointed Certification Bodies is maintained by IECEx under the heading ‘Quick Links’ on the IECEx home page.

The bottom of page 1 of all IECEx Certificates identifies the ExCB that issued the certificate.
Any questions concerning an IECEx Certificate should always be directed to either (or both) the Applicant listed on the Certificate or the ExCB that issued the Certificate.

Any communication with the ExCB that issued the Certificate should ALWAYS be via the Certification Body’s official representative to the IECEx.  This person and their contact details are shown on the IECEx website after selecting the ExCB from the Group of Certification Bodies under ‘Quick Links’ from the IECEx home page.

In the unlikely event that the ExCB cannot be contacted or has not responded, then the IECEx Secretariat should be contacted via

Any complaints against an IECEx-appointed Certification Body must always be first raised with the ExCB concerned, as their agreement with IECEx stipulates that they should have an internal procedure for dealing with complaints and appeals.

For matters that cannot be resolved between the complainant and the ExCB, there is an ExTAG Forum where matters can be referred for discussion and, hopefully, resolution. The ultimate stage is a formal appeals process, as detailed in IECEx 01.  However, prior to launching an appeal through IECEx, it is necessary to ensure that the appeal process within the ExCB itself has been exhausted in the first instance.

With all these procedures in place, the IECEx system is designed to be both user-friendly and transparent.

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