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Baseefa Ltd

Changing of the Guard?

Author : Jim Munro, Chairman, IEC Committee TC31 Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres

01 July 2013

Every year as Chairman of IEC Committee TC 31 I hold a Chairman’s Advisory Group meeting to get together the various office bearers of TC 31 to hear reports on what is happening and to look at any strategic issues that we may need to deal with.  We hold the meeting about midway between our TC 31 plenary meetings, which means it takes place in March or April each year.  Invited to the meeting are over 40 office bearers of TC 31 plus other invitees, such as our IEC technical officer, the

In Windsor is Windsor Castle, one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth II of England.  Many of you will be familiar with the daily ceremony of ‘Changing of the Guard’ at Buckingham Palace.  Not so many will know that the ceremony also takes place at Windsor Castle.  Unfortunately pressure of business did not permit me time to watch the ceremony this time, but I was rather amused by an anecdote of one of my Australian colleagues.  He had a room overlooking the castle and he could look straight through a window into the guards’ quarters.  He said the when the next shift was due, guards could be seen changing into their uniforms resplendent in their ‘Long Johns’ underwear.  He said it gave a whole new meaning to changing of the guard!   I will talk a bit more about changing of the guard later, but this time in regard to TC 31.

Getting back the CAG, this always proves an excellent forum to explore the strategic issues of TC 31 well in advance of the plenary meeting.  Where necessary, such issues can be developed into information papers that go out the membership of TC 31 prior to the plenary meeting so they can be well informed and have the ability to bring a national perspective to the issues to be discussed.  While this CAG meeting is not a decision-making forum, it does contribute significantly to the work of TC 31 and is of great assistance to me as Chairman (hence the name).  We also normally make use of the time to run a training session, of two hours or so, to help the officers with their work in TC 31.  This year’s training course concentrated on the use of documents showing tracked changes, e.g. for CDV; use of the IEC Collaboration Tools; the IEC policy on notes in standards (which has recently caused some major problems for TC 31); advice on the new IEC home page and the upgraded myIEC tool; and other new items coming out of the revised TC 31 Good Working Practice document.
The following are some of the major matters and issues that were discussed in the CAG meeting:

* The CAG agreed that it will continue the task group on changes to standards for a further year and will review the situation again at the CAG meeting in 2014

* The CAG supported efforts of WG 22 (working group responsible amongst other things for maintenance of IEC 60079-0) to produce a Decision Sheet and an Interpretation Sheet to clarify the tensile testing for cable glands.

* The CAG supported consideration of moving some or all of the work for 60079-13 from TC 31 to SC 31J as the work more closely relates to the “user” documents of SC 31J. The CAG will review the situation at the 2014 CAG meeting and could draft a proposal for adoption at the 2014 plenary meeting of TC 31.

* The CAG supported alignment of the definitions and usage of the “dust” terms in IEC 60079-14, now at CDV with the FDIS in preparation, with those agreed by WG 28 Dusts.

* The CAG supported that the default voting period for CDV will be five months for TC 31 purposes, not including the two month translation period. The convenors will need to make a convincing recommendation to the Chairman and Secretary to shorten to the three month voting period.

* The CAG supported the development, by WG 32 Creepage and clearance distances, of revised text for the draft for 60079-7 that includes additional information of the application of Annex H. Additional information should also be prepared for future incorporation into IEC 60079-14. 

* The CAG supported the concept of moving forward with alternative sets of spacings tables taking into account the recommendations of WG 32. 

* The CAG agreed that for IEC 60079-7, the approach for the table of differences will be different for this standard. The table will actually be 2 tables, one for “e”>>”eb” and one for “nA”>>”ec”. 

* The CAG supported delaying a decision on how to proceed with a revised IEC 60079-15 until after “nA” has been relocated to IEC 60079-7.

* The CAG supported the Ex marking of trace heating based on the following:
Ex 60079-30-1  IIC T4 Gb        Ex 60079-30-1 IIIC  T135 °C Db

* The CAG supported the request of MT60079-33 Maintenance of IEC 60079-33 to review of issued certificates against IEC 60079-33.

* The CAG supported MT80079-34 (quality systems for manufacturers) using the maintenance teams for the types of protection to support the development of appropriate text for Annex A and B. 

* The CAG supported the decision of SC 31J to maintain the area classification documents within SC 31J and not move them SC 31M.

* The CAG supported the review of flexible metal conduits for hazardous areas to consider what and where any product or installation requirements could reside. A proposal will be prepared for consideration at the next TC 31 Plenary

* The CAG supported the appointing one or more Vice-Chairmen for TC 31. A nominating committee consisting of the officers of TC 31 and its sub-committees, along with other selected persons, will manage this process with the intent of presenting a proposal for the TC 31 Plenary.

The last item above brings us back to the ‘Changing of the Guard’- this time at TC 31. Coupled with the proposal to look at options for Vice-Chairmen is the fact that my time as Chairman of TC 31 will come to an end in July 2014 when my latest extension runs out.  IEC has just introduced a new policy restricting the term of office of technical committee and subcommittee chairmen to 9 years.   As I will have served 15 years by the end of this term, I will not longer be eligible to continue as Chair.  There have been a number of representations from various interests to IEC to provide me with an extension.  But it has become clear that no exceptions will be made.  I can see some logic in their rationale, but needless to say I am personally disappointed as I feel I still had a lot to offer.  

However, as they say ‘when one door closes another one opens’.  Kerry McManama has just resigned as Chairman of the IECEx System and so I have decided to explore the option of putting myself forward for election into that role.  It is not clear as I write this where that may lead.  There is a famous old English saying: “There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip”.  

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