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EASA – Ex Equipment Training & Competence Certification with a difference

15 February 2012

EASA provides its members and users with a means of keeping up to date on materials, training, equipment, and state-of-the-art technology. Click here to read more

Electrical Apparatus Service Association
Electrical Apparatus Service Association

Advances in technology along with product globalisation have produced many changes in industries. The field of Explosive (Ex) Atmosphere Equipment is no exception. Modern day process automation means more and more specialised equipment are being exposed to harsh environments, especially those where the presence of flammable gas and vapours or combustible dusts exist or may exist.

Increasingly stringent guidelines, detailed codes of practice and mandatory legislation are an ever-present fact of life. It is of paramount importance that users are aware of what can be complex requirements.

European & World Chapter Ltd (EASA) 
EASA European & World Chapter Limited is part of EASA International an international trade organisation of over 2,000 electro-mechanical sales and service firms in 50 countries. Through its many engineering and educational programs, EASA provides its members and users with a means of keeping up to date on materials, training, equipment, and state-of-the-art technology.

EASA Credentials 
EASA has been involved with hazardous area training for many years, utilising the skills and experience of its  highly specialised engineers, trainers and lecturers to 'transfer knowledge' of these requirements to its members who are engaged in the maintenance of Ex equipment.

This detailed knowledge and experience allows them to deliver a range of training and competence assessment schemes. These programs are aimed at those involved at every level, providing training to gain a solid understanding of the safety features of Ex equipment, current safety legislation and codes of practice. It looks at the types of equipment used, protection methods and maintenance of these safety features. 

The EASA Scheme
The EASA Scheme is applicable to operators, craftsmen, technicians, engineers and senior management.  It provides the means for the formal assessment of competence and registration of personnel.

The assessment and registration is carried out by 3rd party assessment. Sira Certification Service (SCS) have a long history of testing and certifying equipment for use in explosive atmospheres and of carrying out hazardous area classification. 

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act, employers have a duty of care to have competent workers; this is reinforced by requirements within the Electricity at Work Regulations and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations.

So, how do EASA ensure all personnel maintaining and repairing hazardous area equipment are competent? What does EASA mean by competent? Competence is a mixture of skill, knowledge, attitude, training and experience there is no definitive definition of competence. ISO 17024 defines competence as “demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and/or skills, and where relevant, demonstrated personal attributes, as defined in the certification scheme”.

But why is EASA training different?
Assessment of knowledge of applicable standards regulations alone is not a sufficient measure of competence. There needs to be assessment of the individual’s application of that knowledge maintaining and repairing hazardous area equipment to the relevant repair and protection concept standards. By having a scheme with independent assessment of competence, questionable reliability of ‘in-house’ assessments can be eliminated and raise industry standards. That’s what makes EASA’s training different.

IEC 60079-19 includes a requirement for a Responsible Person to take responsibility for repair processes on hazardous area equipment and incorporates a new requirement of Demonstrated Competencies.

EASA’s European & World Chapter members identified the need to have independent assessment of competence, to meet the proposed amendment to the repair standard and to satisfy the assessment of service facilities by competent third parties as operated by IECEx. 

By offering an independent assessment of competence to an international standard through a scheme accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, (UKAS) operated by Sira Certification Service, (SCS), which includes one of the UK’s EU Notified Bodies and also an IECEx Test House and Certification Body EASA have a competence certification scheme with worldwide credibility.

Competence Certificate and Validity 
The certificate of competence will have a validity of 3 years, subject to continuous experience during that period, and re-assessment must be completed within 12 months of the expiry date.

Any break in experience in excess of 12 months will invalidate the registration necessitating re-assessment. Failure to provide an individual’s annual experience log will result in the withdrawal of that individual’s certificate. For a break in experience of more than 3 years after the assessment date any candidates wishing to re-apply for assessment would be referred to the Scheme Committee to assess their training and experience requirements to achieve Re-certification.

EASA are currently operating courses in the UK, Germany and the Far East, for details please contact the EASA Secretary

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