Operating equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres comes with a certain amount of responsibility. Not least using components with the correct equipment protection concepts for the working environment. When maintenance and repairs are required, it is important that owners/operators understand what is expected of them to ensure continued safety and reliability.

Any business that has identified zoned areas within its premises is expected to adhere to a number of international and regional standards including BS EN IEC 60079-19:2019. This states the responsibilities of operators, managers and repairers to ensure that all equipment is properly handled and fit for continued service.

When Ex equipment needs to be sent for a repair or overhaul then a facility with sufficient handling equipment and competencies should be selected to complete the work. Each machine should have its own dossier containing all the required paperwork, including details of any previous repairs and inspections. This dossier should accompany the equipment to any approved service centre. A qualified repair centre will ask for this information and they will also provide all the evidence required to determine if it is qualified to deliver the repair.

Following the guidelines and taking on the responsibilities of operating ex-rated equipment goes a long way to minimizing the risks associated with zoned areas, keeping both employees and equipment safe. In the event of an incident involving equipment in a zoned area, the investigation into the cause will start with the information dossier for all the equipment in the affected area.

If any repairs have been completed by service centres that did not comply with the international standard, this could be seen as a failure to meet the terms of the insurance policy. As such, this could have major implications for funding any repairs as well as increasing the cost of future insurance policies.

Both managers and maintenance staff involved with Ex rated equipment are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of this specialised area and attend training courses appropriate for their role. This will enable the business to implement the necessary operational and managerial processes to comply with the international standard.

The AEMT has an Ex register (
www.ex-register.com) which lists all members that hold various certifications including ISO 9001, and AEMT Ex Assessment Certificates. IECEx service centres are independently audited by a notifying body and maintain their 3-year refresher training to achieve certified accreditation.

Karl Metcalfe

Karl Metcalfe, Technical Support for the AEMT, has worked within the rewind industry since 1987 developing a broad and deep knowledge of the sector. Starting his apprenticeship at York based service centre Eclipse Engineering, Karl trained as a time served electrical rewinder and fitter, where he worked extensively with low voltage machines, pumps and gearboxes. In 2011, he left Eclipse to move into sales then moved on to Featherston as workshop manager, where he gained experience in handling medium to high voltage equipment. He later became works manager of Kirkby Lindsey in 2015 where he was also the responsible person for signing off all Ex hazardous area equipment.