Hazardous Areas and Explosive Atmospheres
Does equipment in a hazardous area have to be regularly checked?
Yes and AS/NZS60079.17 describes the two main methods of doing this. Firstly and most common is by Periodic Verification aka Periodic Assessment, where items are checked at least once every four years (Standards are currently being reveiwed and the Draft is looking to reduce this frequency to 3 years). Some items may need to be checked more regularly either because of manufacturer requirements or because of technical or operational use. Typically this involves the engagment of a part-time competant person whose primary role is to inspect, audit and report.
Secondly there are "Continuous Supervision" provisions which may apply where equipment that is regulalrly used, visited or maintained by personnel who are deemed to be competant; may "pass" the item as being suitable for purpose once they've finshed working on the equipment. These provisons apply where oversight is provided by a Technical Person with Executive Function (TPEF).
The pros and cons of each method are varied and we can provide you with a presentation to help you choose which method best meets your needs.
What is a Verification Dossier?
A extract from AS/NZS60079.14 states; "A Verification Dossier is a set of documents showing the compliance of electrical equipment and installations." Often referred to as a VVD, Section 4.2 in this Standard sets out the requirements.
The VVD can be as simple as a folder containing the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions, drawings, location test certificate (if required), electrical compliance certificates (past and present), maintenance records, and a statement made by the owner confirming the address and other contact details.
In a computer based system a physical electrical compliance certificate is still issued by the examining authority which then describes where the VVD and its collection of files is being held. VVD's should be available for audit.
We can help you to prepare and maintain your VVD and we can provide assistance during your preparation for an external audit.
What is a High-Risk Database entry?
Energy Safety (ES) is an offical government department and operates alongside WorkSafe NZ (formerly the Department of Labour) within The Ministry of Business, Innovaton and Employment. ES operates and adminsters a web-based Register whose focus is on identifying all hazardous locations in New Zealand.
Registered electrical inspectors are required to 'register' their activities as an entry into the register whenever they complete an inspection of certain high-risk activities. The two most common examples are when the mains gets inspected for the first time at a new installation and anytime a high-risk activity occurs within a hazardous area location. There are several other examples; too many to explain in this FAQ so please check out this link for a comprehensive list and other information.
What is a Location Compliance Certificate?
An annually renewable Location Test Certificate is required where explosive, flammable or oxidizing substances are stored and the quantity exceeds the thresholds specified in the legislation. Follow this link for more details on Location Compliance Certification.
What is an Owner’s Statement?
It is much like a memo, often prepared on the owner’s letterhead stating who the owner is and if the operator is a different entity, the Statement records who they are. It also records the location of the premises, the intended use of the equipment and where the Dossier is being held. The Owner's Statement stays in the Dossier.
What drawings are needed?
Inspectors need to satisfy themselves that equipment is suitable for purpose and electrically safe for the areas they operate in. Whilst manufacturer manuals and Certificates of Conformity provide evidence of equipment suitability there is also a need to confirm the type of location that equipment is going to be used in. This is easiest done in drawings such as Hazardous Area Classification drawings, electrical schematics, location and equipment layout drawings, P&ID's, and instrument loop drawings. Where drawings are not available, we can create them.
How can I find a Compliance Certifier?
WorkSafe maintain a Register of Compliance Certifiers. Here's the link.
What types and grades of inspection are needed?
There are 4 Types of Hazardous Area Inspections: (Reference AS/NZS 60079.17:2009 4.3.3)
1. Initial Hazardous Area Inspections
Initial inspections are required to ensure that the selected type of protection is appropriate for the hazardous area installation and applies to new installations.
2. Periodic Hazardous Area Inspections
Periodic inspections should be carried out as part of an inspection regime or routine and apply to existing installations. The purpose of the periodic inspection is to monitor the effects of deterioration or change. The intervals between periodic inspections should not exceed three years.
This type of inspection offers an engineered solution where a representative sample of devices, installed in similar circumstances and used in a similar service can be inspected to any of the Grades of Inspection. This is a common method of inspection on production lines.
4. Continuous Supervision
This type of inspection is an alternative to Periodic Assessment and can be applied in special circumstances. It is reliant on system oversight by a "Technical person with Executive Function" employing a system of audit carried out by attendant maintenance staff, deemed to be competent, whilst carrying out their normal/routine maintenance duties. Give us a call and we can help you to assess whether this model will suit your Operation.
There are 3 Grades of Hazardous Area Inspections:(Reference AS/NZS 60079.17:2009 4.3.2)
1. Visual Hazardous Area Inspections
Visual hazardous area inspections identify without the use of access equipment or tools which will be apparent to the eye. For example - missing bolts, deformed/damaged enclosures, missing tags, debris encrusted encloures
2. Close Hazardous Area Inspections
Close hazardous area inspections encompasses those aspects covered by a visual inspection, and in addition, identifies those defects, such as loose bolts, which will be apparent only by the use of access equipment, for example, steps (where necessary) and tools. Close inspections do not normally require the enclosure to be opened, or the equipment to be de-energized.
3. Detailed Hazardous Area Inspections
Detailed hazardous area inspections encompasses the aspects covered by a close inspection and, in addition, identifies defects such as loose terminations, which will only be apparent by opening the enclosure and/or using where necessary, tools and test equipment. These inspections may require the enclosure to be opened, equipment to be de-energized and dismantling of cable glands where applicable, as per the AS/NZS60079-17/14 Electrical Installations Inspection & Maintenance Standards.