North American Certification via the IECEx

North American Certification via the IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme

In North America, equipment for use in Hazardous Locations is required to bear the recognized Certification Mark of an accredited Certification Body. For Hazardous Location Equipment, the main recognized, accredited Certification Bodies include; QPS, CSA, UL, FM, ETL. Each of these agencies will have a mark indicating compliance with Canadian Standards (cQPS), USA Standards (QPSus) or both (cQPSus).
Recognized Certification Mark: A Certification Mark that has been “accepted” by all provincial (in Canada) and/or local (USA) inspection authorities. Although the process for “acceptance” of the Certification mark differs between Canada and the USA, the end result is the same – local authority acceptance of the Certification Mark.
Accredited Certification Body: Assessed to ISO17025/17065 and accredited to perform Certification work by Standards Council of Canada (SCC) in Canada, and by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) in the USA.

As you know, Canada (and the USA) are members of the IECEx Scheme, and therefore Canadian/USA Certification Bodies accredited under the IECEx Equipment Certification Scheme (QPS, CSA, UL, FM) will accept valid IECEx ExTRs, as per IECEx procedures, as a basis for issuing Canadian/USA Certification. However, within North America, the National Deviations require 3rd Party Evaluation of the equipment to the applicable requirements of the Ordinary Locations Standards. In many cases, these Ordinary Locations requirements can be quite extensive, and there are numerous Ordinary Locations Standards which may apply, depending on the type of equipment.

For example, say your customer has an Ex d control panel with a number of components inside. The customer can supply a valid ExTR to cover the flameproof aspects of the enclosure, but it would also have to be evaluated/tested to CSA Standard CSA C22.2 No 14 Industrial Control Equipment (Canada) and/or ANSI/UL 508 Industrial Control Equipment (USA). Depending on the internal components, other Standards may apply, ie, C22.2 No 5.1 Circuit Breakers. So if the internal components do not already bear a recognized Mark from an accredited CB, the evaluation can be quite extensive and expensive!

Therefore, most equipment is submitted for Certification to a recognized, IECEx-accredited Certification Body who will evaluate the equipment to the applicable Ordinary Locations Standards (assuming National Deviations have not been evaluated by the issuing ExCB) and use the valid IECEx ExTR to verify the compliance of the equipment to the Hazardous Locations Standards. Assuming both the Ord Loc evaluation and ExTR and satisfactory, the Certification Body will then authorize the use of their recognized Certification Mark on the equipment. The manufacturer will enter into a service agreement with the Certification Body, and will be subject to the required follow up procedures. Note: It is possible to obtain a “Field Certification” of equipment based on an ExTR as well. The same technical requirements as above will apply, however, as each piece of equipment to be approved is evaluated, there is no follow up required. This similar to a “Unit Verification” under the IECEx Scheme or ATEX Directive.

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