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Competence in Hazardous Areas – How the IECEx System can Help

Author : Thorsten Arnhold - Chairman, IECEx

19 November 2018

Investigations show that the overwhelming majority of accidents in hazardous areas are caused by a lack of competence, of clear responsibilities and of commitment. In the presentation, this statement will be illustrated by current accidents in European process plants and I will show how a third-party certification system such as that provided by IECEx can help.

Due to commercial pressures, many companies have reduced the number of in-house safety experts and transferred these obligations to external service providers. This reduces costs and gives some flexibility, but without sufficient internal experts it is very difficult to control the competence and experience of external service providers and of new employees. A Third Party Certification system such as IECEx helps to bridge that gap.

Based on the international standards of the IEC 60079 series, service providers for plant design, equipment selection, installation, inspection, maintenance, repair and overhaul are assessed and certified by independent external experts.

Furthermore the Certification Scheme for personal competency offers an independent evaluation of the knowledge and skills of people who works in hazardous area - both employees of the process companies as well as external service providers. These certificates are available 24/7 on the IECEx homepage, giving responsible persons at end user companies the ability to select the right partners for their safety critical jobs. 


Prof. Dr. Thorsten Arnhold is Chairman of the IECEx System and VP Strategy & Technology at R. STAHL AG. Earlier, he was Chairman of the German National Committee of IECEx and VP Product Management and Marketing at R.STAHL, and before that a Quality Manager for ISO 9000 system implementation.

He studied electronics at Dresden Technical University and gained a PhD in Hybrid Integrated Circuits, and has a Diploma of Marketing from St. Gallen Business School.

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