The History of the Australian Hazardous Area Equipment Certification Schemes
NOTE: The facts contained in this paper is based on the best available information but cannot be guaranteed to by 100% accurate.
The original certificates covering Ex Equipment were, issued by Standards Australia and to date back to the 1960s. They carried a prefix depicting the type of protection used, e.g. FLP (flameproof) and DIP (Dust Ignition proof) followed by a sequential number. The basis for the issuing of these certificates is unknown.
Later, the first of the “Ex” style of certificates – Ex 1 – was issued to Pongrass for an encapsulated valve on 14th December 1972 and was signed by P. Butt as Chairman of Committee EL/14/1 (NSW Dept. of Dangerous Goods) and A Stewart as Director, Standards Association of Australia. For some reason, this was not the first certificate issued as Ex 13 was issued in 1970.
In 1974 the signatures are the same but it shows P Butt as chair of EL/29. In 1977 G Reid signed as chair of EL/29. From 1980 the certificates were signed only by the Director – Administration, and Approvals Standards Association of Australia and the certificate numbers were up to Ex 130. They were still being issued under EL/29. It is understood that the basis of Standards Australia issuing certificates was a Committee’s Decision, similar to the “Approvals Process” for household Appliances by the State Regulators at that time.
As best can be ascertained P/3 began operation in 1982 and the decision to issue certificates changed from EL/29 to P/3.
The details of the operation of P/3 are given in MP37:1987
SYNOPSIS OF SAA'S P /3 CERTIFICATION SCHEME FOR EXPLOSION-PROTECTED ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
Within the States and Territories of Australia, there are several authorities concerned with electrical installations in hazardous areas, e.g. Electricity Supply Authorities, Departments of Mines, Departments of Labour. In its normal standards-preparation function, SAA brings representatives of these authorities together to prepare rules for hazardous areas and standards dealing with related equipment. SAA has been accepted as the logical agency for coordinating such activities.
On behalf of the statutory authorities, SAA administers a national scheme for the certification of explosion-protected electrical equipment. The basis for the issue of a certificate is essentially a type test. The certificate is a formal statement that a basic design, described on the certificate, has been found to comply with the requirements of the appropriate Australian standard or standards.
A Certificate condition is that the certificate holder agrees to advise SAA if he intends to make any modifications to the design of the equipment covered by the certificate and acknowledges the right of SAA to withdraw the certificate in the event of a breach of the certification conditions.
All decisions on certification matters are made by Committee P /3 and all administrative matters connected with the work of the committee are handled by SAA staff.
When considering an application for certification to an Australian standard, the committee is guided by a test report from an approved testing station. Committee P /3 also examines samples of equipment.
Once the committee authorizes the issue of a certificate, a certificate is prepared and signed by the Director, Administration, and Approvals. The original is given to the applicant who then becomes the certificate holder.
Further information may be obtained from:
The Executive Officer
Standards Association of Australia
80 Arthur Street
NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2060
Telephone-(02) 963 4111
The scheme is fully detailed in SAA MP42.
At present, Committee P /3 is constituted by representatives of the following:
Department of Industrial Relations and Employment, New South Wales
Electricity Trust of South Australia
Hydro-Electric Commission, Tasmania
State Electricity Commission of Victoria
Queensland Electricity Commission
State Energy Commission of Western Australia
Insurance Council of Australia
Independent Testing Interests.