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Hazardex 2019 Conference Presentations - Reflecting 25 Years of Validating Core Competencies

Author : Martin Jones - Operations Manager, JTL CompEx

19 November 2018

This Conference Paper will stress the importance of validating core competencies with independently accredited organisations to help protect both the workforce and the expensive capital asset whilst also protecting the Owners and Responsible Persons. 

The CompEx Scheme was launched at the Grosvenor Hotel, London on 28th May 1993 by Mr Peter Bennett, the CompEx Scheme Committee Chairman for the last 25 Years and now our Chairman Emeritus. At that time, Industry, Employers and Employees in the Oil, Gas and Chemical Sector were still reeling from the shock of the Piper Alpha Offshore Platform Disaster in the UK North Sea back in 1988, that tragically claimed 167 lives.

Throughout the development and growth of the CompEx Scheme during the last 25 years, with Industry and Regulator guidance, modules have significantly grown from the original Gas & Vapour suite of modules to a full suite of 14 core competency modules and various Foundation Awareness Modules all of which address the requirements of the international IEC Standard 60079 Parts 14 (Installation) & 17 (Inspection). Additionally, the North American National Electrical Code NEC 500 & 505 Modules and American Petroleum Institute API 500 / 505 Modules were developed specifically for users having assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

Managing this growth and ensuring certification turnaround is maintained is not without its challenges, moving paper-based examinations to online examinations and moving practical assessment recording onto iPad technology presented unique challenges.

The defining moment in the scheme’s history was the three years between 2007 and 2010 where the CompEx Operations Manager and CompEx Quality Manager set about wrestling to the ground the gap analysis that would enable the CompEx Certification Body, JT Limited, to be awarded the prestigious recognition that the CompEx Scheme rules, governance, policies and procedures met the requirements of the International Standard ISO/IEC 17024 : 2012 Conformity Assessment – General Requirements for bodies offering Certification of Persons.

This accreditation, awarded by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, UKAS, who in turn are accredited by the International Accreditation Forum, IAF, to accredit Certification Bodies against the International Standard. Proving the CompEx Scheme met all the requirements of impartiality, no conflict of interests and involvement of key stakeholders in the governance of the Scheme was indeed a defining moment in the Scheme’s history.

That said, the way forward offers new frontiers, the first being Functional Safety Foundation and followed quickly by a core competency module for Functional Safety Technicians against the International Standard for Process Safety IEC 61511, which take CompEx into new frontiers, mapping the proven core competency validation model across into new international standards.

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Martin Jones is Operations Manager at JTL CompEx.

Martin manages the global operations and strategic development of the CompEx Core Competency Scheme for Electrical and Mechanical practitioners and professional Application Design Engineers who work in Explosive Atmospheres.

Recent achievements are:-

• Managed the growth of the CompEx Scheme from 10 centres in 2007 to 60 worldwide centres in 2018

• Driven the growth of new CompEx Modules to include Foundation, Mechanical, Application Design Engineer and Responsible Person

• 2010 Achieved Accreditation for the CompEx Scheme to the International Standard IEC/ISO 17024 : 2003 – ‘Competency of Persons who work in explosive atmospheres’.

• 2014 Achieved the updated Accreditation for the CompEx Scheme to the International Standard IEC/ISO 17024 : 2012 – ‘Competency of Persons who work in explosive atmospheres’.

His 20 years experience as a qualified electrical craftsman and electrical engineer in British Coal Corporation in the UK, where he was legally / statutorily responsible for the safe installation, testing and maintenance of all electrical equipment at the coal mine, both surface and underground, together with 7 years managing the production of chipboard and MDF board at Europe’s largest board panel manufacturer has provided vast experience towards working safely in Gas & Dust Atmospheres.


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