Verification Dossier Requirements
Verification Dossier’s (or safety files) have been around for many years but their purpose or use is often misunderstood. This article is an attempt to explain what a verification dossier is, what is it supposed to be used for and how it should be maintained.
Why do we need a verification dossier or safety file at all? What are the legislative requirements driving the need for this?
Generally, Australian standards are not legislative and therefore it is not a legal requirement to comply with them, however, there are a few standards such as AS/NZS 3000, which are specifically called up in legislation in various Australian states and are therefore mandatory.
The AS/NZS 60079 series standards are listed within AS/NZS 3000 as a “Normative Reference”. This means that to comply with AS/NZS 3000, you must also comply with the AS/NZS 60079 series of standards.
Equally, where the WHS act is applied, there are requirements for designs, manufacturers, suppliers and importers of plant, substances and structures to provide sufficient information to the end user to allow them to operate and maintain their equipment in a safe manner throughout its life cycle. The verification dossier forms a vital part of meeting these legislative obligations.
What is a verification dossier?
Essentially, a verification dossier is a collection of documents detailing the compliance of electrical equipment/plant to the relevant standards and legislation to ensure safety.
Clauses 24 and 30.1 of AS/NZS 60079.0:2012 detail some requirements for information provided to the end user by the manufacturer of a piece of equipment and this information may well form part of the verification dossier. However, the main requirements for a verification dossier are detailed within AS/NZS60079.14:2017 within clause 4 and clause 5.9 (also ensure to refer to Annex ZZ2 for national differences).
A verification dossier can be in hard copy format or in electronic format, however, it should be controlled, and it should be secure. Multiple copies are not recommended due to the difficulties in keeping all copies updated/maintained.
What is a verification dossier used for?
The verification dossier performs various roles throughout the life of a piece of equipment or plant. During initial delivery to site, installation and or commissioning, it is a record to validate the conformance of the equipment or plant i.e. this is the equipment that has been received, here is how it complies and here is what the end user needs to know to keep the equipment compliant.
Once the equipment or plant has been installed and is operational, the verification dossier is then used to record all compliance related data concerning all incidents, failures, maintenance activities (inspections, repairs and overhauls) and any changes that have been made to the equipment during service.
During overhauls, the verification dossier should be presented to the service facility performing the overhaul to allow the service facility to have all the information required to successfully perform the overhaul and for the service facility to update the dossier with the results of the overhaul. The verification dossier should also act as an historical record which will determine the scope of any subsequent overhauls.
Should a safety or compliance related incident occur during the lifecycle of the equipment, the verification dossier is then used to either verify compliance or identify areas of non-compliance.
When the equipment is de-commissioned, the verification dossier is then used to identify any specific de-commissioning requirements as well as to record how the equipment was de-commissioned.
What type of information should be included in a verification dossier?
The verification dossier is intended to include the following information, where relevant:
- Details of whom the equipment ownership belongs to.
- Quality Control documentation for the equipment/plant (including manufacturer and/or supplier details)
- Copies of the certificates of conformity for all Ex rated equipment/components used
- Details of the serial numbers of the Ex rated equipment/components used
- Copies of any declarations of conformity that are available for the Ex rated equipment
- Zone/Area classification assessments for where the equipment is to be used including the following:
- Gas/Dust group information
- Temperature classification or ignition temperature details of the gas, vapour or dusts in the operating area.
- Expected operating conditions
- Electrical ratings including short circuit fault current details.
- Instructions for the safe use of the equipment such as conditions of use, risk assessments, user manuals etc.
- Descriptive document for any intrinsically safe systems (including parameter details/calculations)
- Any relevant calculations required to maintain compliance with the certificate of conformity
- Initial equipment selection criteria
- Copies of any compliance/fit for purpose assessments made in the equipment
- Justification for the use of equipment that may not comply to IEC or AS/NZS standards including any relevant assessments made
- Initial inspection results
- Maintenance, Inspection and overhaul records
- Competency requirements and records for installers, operators, maintainers and over-haulers
Additional safety-related information can be added as required.
Are there any other standards or guides which give advice on the contents of verification dossiers/safety files?
For mining applications, AS4871.1:2012, specifically Annex G provides some further guidance on the contents.
Also refer to NIOSH Programmable Electronic Mining Systems: Best Practice Recommendations (In nine parts) Part 4: 3.0