Can you ‘Self Certify’ or do you need a Certification Body?

The Requirements for ATEX/UKCA

One of the most misunderstood aspects of ATEX and UKCA Ex Certification is the ‘blend’ of Self Certification and Notified/Approved Body Certification.  There are many routes to certification, and this is explained in legislative documents, but for end users and manufacturers it can be very confusing. An example of the routes to conformity is shown below….


So what exactly does this mean?

  • Electrical equipment that is CAT 1 and CAT 2 (normally for use in in Zone 0 or 1) requires Notified Body Certification for the EU and UK Approved Body Certification for the UK (no self-certification is allowed unless the equipment is Simple Apparatus*)
  • Non-electrical equipment for CAT 1 (Zone 0)requires Notified/Approved Body Certification.
  • Equipment that is purely non-electrical requires a ‘technical file lodging’ with a Notified/Approved Body for CAT 2 (Zone 1) and the Notified/Approved Body will normally issue proof or receipt.
  • All ‘Protective Systems’ (mitigation) require Notified/Approved Body Certification
  • Associated Apparatus (even in the safe area) may require Notified/Approved Body Certification
  • Simple Apparatus can be self-declared even for Zone 0 if you are competent (e.g. CompEx EX12) and produce a DSD (the DSD is effectively the Certification). Simple Apparatus must still be assessed against the appropriate Standards and appropriately marked for inspection.

It is also worth noting that electrical products which are certified as a ‘component’ (a ‘U’ on the end of the certificate number) requires recertification by a Notified/Approved body before they can be used in a potentially explosive atmosphere for CAT 1 and CAT 2.

Equipment Manufacturers Self Declaration (commonly referred to as ‘Self Certification’)

Manufacturers ‘Self Declaration’ under CE or UKCA Marking makes the person who signs the ‘declaration’ legally responsible for the equipment compliance as there is no legal requirements for 3rd party certification and no quality control over what is produced other than internal control of production. Regulatory Authorities may request the evidence (for example clause by clauses standards assessment and test reports) for the standards claimed on the Declaration.

Category 3 Electrical and Category 2 and 3 Non-electrical can be voluntarily certified (and this is sometimes required by end users/buyers) in the following ways…

  • A Conformity Certificate from a Certification Body but with no Quality Control on production (so there can be no Notified/Approved Body number under the CE/UKCA Marking)
  • A Unit Verification Certificate where the Certification Body inspects the equipment for compliance and lists it on the Certificate by serial number (this can be a full Notified/Approved Body Certification with the Body number under the CE/UKCA Marking)


The Requirements for IECEx

IECEx always requires a fully accredited and regulated ‘IECEx Certification Body’ to issue the certification, there is no self certification route. All IECEx Certificates also control the manufacturing quality related aspects via an IECEx QAR.

It’s easy to see why IECEx has become the ‘international’ scheme and why many end users prefer the simplicity and control of an IECEx Certificate. It should be noted however that although IECEx is the ‘baseline’ for most international schemes (including UKCA and ATEX), National Certification is normally required ‘in addition’ to the IECEx Certification, but the process should be far simpler than achieving multiple National Certification that may not be accepted in other countries…

Sean Clarke CEng MSc FIET is the Managing Director of ExVeritas who a UKCA Approved ‘Ex’ Body, an ATEX Notified Body and IECEx Test and Certification Body. With ‘Ex’ test laboratories in the UK and USA. www.exveritas.com






Designer and Project Engineer Ex Training and Competence

Many of you will be aware that the Ex-Standards aimed at end users(such as IEC60079-14) have very specific requirements for competence. These can include both ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ assessments and the need to retain and be reassessed regularly. ‘Installers’ have historically had to have some form of special certificationto be allowed to work in Hazardous Areas (for Example, CompEx 01-06) but it is now also the case that people involved in design and equipment selection will also be asked for their qualifications and evidence of competence. 

In addition to the current requirements of the users’standards, a new standard (initially a technicalspecification) is being developed specifically covering Ex Competence (IEC TS 60079-44 Personal Competence) so now is a good time to refresh our memory on the role of the designers and project engineers

Ex Design Competence

The requirements for personnel involved in the process of designing plant or equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (including equipment that may be in the safe area but have functionality involved in the safe explosion prevention or mitigation) should be given serious consideration. 

Reviewing case studies of many recent explosions will demonstrate that it was the fundamental design that was unsafe, even when correctly built and installed (such as an incorrectly specified level switch or an impractical maintenance procedure post installation).

The requirements will obviously be applicable to companies who design plant but are equally applicable to project engineering companies or manufacturers who may provide rigs, skids or assemblies (now covered by IEC TS 60079-46that may or may not utilise certified hazardous area equipment. (ExVeritas offer specific course for ‘Assembles’ that cover these specific risks and challenges for ‘manufacturers’ as well as end users)

According to the Installation Standard, Designers must possess, to the extent necessary to perform their tasks, the following skills:

• Detailed knowledge of the general principles of explosion protection; this would include knowledge of terms such as LEL, MESG, Flashpoint and factors that affect dust and gas explosion properties (pressure, temperature, oxygen etc).
• Detailed knowledge of the general principles of types of protection and marking; this would include all of the electrical concepts such as i.c.m.a. op is, Non-electricalhetc., group markings such as IIB+H2 (Gas) or IIIC (dust) and EPL’s such as Ga/Gb.
• Detailed knowledge of those aspects of equipment design which affect the protection concept; this may include SIL if safety systems or protective systems are used and in-depth design knowledge if concepts such as constructional safety (c) or IEC special safety (s) are used.
Detailed knowledge of content of certificates, such as use of the ‘X’ or ‘U’ and the many different certificate types and issuing bodies. It is also important to make sure these corticates are to ‘current’ Standards and not certified to ‘withdrawn’ standards! 
An understanding of practical skills for the preparation and installation of relevant concepts of protection (full knowledge of the installation requirements).
Detailed knowledge of the additional importance of ‘Permit to Work systems’, safe isolation and ‘risk assessment’ in relation to Explosion Protection; Process and procedure documentation – most explosions occur during startup/shut down or maintenance!
Detailed knowledge of the techniques to be employed in the selection and installation of equipment referred to in IEC/EN 60079-14 and a general understanding of Inspection and Maintenance requirements of IEC/EN60079-17.

Designers must be able to demonstrate their competency and provide evidence of attaining the knowledge and skill requirements specified above, relevant to the types of protection and/or types of equipment involved. They must also be able to demonstrate their competency with documentary evidence such as ‘Designers training Certificates’ to the user and suitable documented safe operating procedures and list of required checks and maintenance (including intervals). 

One of the most used and widely accepted levels of certification for Designers is CompEx EX12, it is also worth noting that CompEx has also added an introductory Functional safety course to their portfolio which is useful alongside EX12.

Full details of the new CompEx Courses can be found here: CompEx Training and Competence Certification or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a prospectus. 

This Article can also be found in the issue below.




Arco Professional Safety Services, the UK’s leading safety training company, has launched a new Learning Management System (LMS), offering over 50 e-learning awareness courses with the ability for customers to self-serve their health and safety training requirements. These courses, which can be completed remotely, are designed to provide a basic understanding of the various hazards that may be found in the workplace and are an ideal starting point to further, more in-depth training. 

All employers have a legal obligation to ensure their employees are appropriately trained for the job they do. The Arco LMS offers a wider variety of training courses beyond the experiential training and classroom learning available at their training facilities, enabling more opportunity to implement training programmes for their workforce. Starting from just £20, courses available through the LMS platform include asbestos awareness, control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH), emergency first aid at work refresher (EFAW), fire awareness, manual handling and risk assessment. Employers can review the e-learning courses available and select those most appropriate to their needs, efficiently and cost-effectively.  

The system has the potential to allow employers to create, view and manage appropriate training programmes suitable for specific individuals, roles or companies. With the support of the Arco Professional Safety Service training team, this could then be linked to a comprehensive offering including bespoke learning modules, videos, documentation, course booking options for assessing or practical application of knowledge and assessments. 

Arco’s specialist instructors have a wealth of industry experience and can provide businesses with the most relevant training to help keep workers safe. Offering a wide range of courses, Arco Professional Safety Services cover training for the below disciplines, alongside the LMS system: 

  • Working at Height 
  • Confined Spaces
  • Respiratory
  • Health and Safety

Brian Grunes, Training Manager says: “We have a core purpose to help keep people safe at work and have developed this new Learning Management System to make it easy for business to choose, book and deliver the most appropriate awareness-based training courses for their employees. From Fire Awareness to First Aid and Ladder Safety, our comprehensive e-learning course offering is brought together in one, simple to use, online resource to help businesses maintain a safe working environment for everyone.”

CSA Group UK’s 2018/19 training programme is available to book! See our latest training offers below

hes dec 18 24CSA Group UK’s 2018/19 training programme is available to book! See our latest training offers below

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Hazardous Areas Basic Principles course (3 days) (Read More)

CSA- Sira Launches Training Programme For 2012/13

d2CSA- Sira Launches Training Programme For 2012/13

CSA-Sira provides a comprehensive range of courses for those working in potentially explosive atmospheres and the environmental monitoring industry.
Training in the principles of: IEC; ATEX 94/9/EC & 137; DSEAR; IEC 61508 Functional Safety; MCERTS Environmental Monitoring (Air & Water); IECEx Certification of Personnel Competence &  Competence Professional Schemes. (Read More)

CSA-Sira launches training programme for 2012/13

CSA-Sira provides a comprehensive range of courses for those working in potentially explosive atmospheres and the environmental monitoring industry. Training covers: IEC; ATEX 94/9/EC & 137; DSEAR; IEC 61508 Functional Safety; MCERTS Environmental Monitoring (Air & Water); IECEx Certification of Personnel Competence &  Competence Professional Schemes.