When Trainor first started to look into IECEx's International Certification Scheme for Personnel Competence (CoPC) in 2014, they had no idea that in just a few years they would be the company that accounts for the highest amount of certifications worldwide. "Our goal is to highlight what we think is the best tool for improving the safety of the Ex (explosive atmospheres) industry globally," says Managing Director of Trainor Certification, Einar Thorén.
A boost for personnel expertise and security
The certification scheme is an important international focus area for Trainor. "An international system for ensuring personnel competence is fully in line with our values and the responsibility we take upon ourselves to improve the safety of Ex areas. The Ex industry is global, with companies operating in several countries and with personnel from all over the world. A common system for certification of personnel working in Ex areas helps raise the level of competence and ensures a common standard across borders, "says Thorén. An IECEx CoPC certification requires a high level of knowledge, skills and experience from the candidates, and those who are certified have extended and updated their skills in advance of the exam. Such global lifting of skills will lead to fewer errors in Ex areas, less downtime and significant reduction in likelihood of accidents. Employers worldwide can be confident that IECEx certified personnel have the necessary expertise, which in the long-term results in a significant cost reduction during newbuilding, operation and maintenance.
The United Nations has, via their UNECE division, formally endorsed IECEx including the CoPC Scheme as world’s best practise and the recommended model for all countries to use when regulating in the Ex field. This UN endorsement is reflected in their United nations “Common Regulatory Objective publications (CRO).
Issues most CoPC Certificates in the world, from certification centers in 5 countries
Since the IECEx CoPC certification scheme started in 2010, approximately 2000 certificates has been issued. It has been a slow, but steady development, but there is a reason to believe the numbers are rising, while maintaining the quality of outcomes, well helped by the Norwegian company, Trainor Certification. "As of 2018, we have certified 171 people, the highest amount of all certification centers in the IECEx CoPC system," says Thorén. Korea thrives on top with 97 certifications, followed by Norway by 42. The rest are distributed in Vietnam, Myanmar and India. Thorén believes that with an increased focus on international standards and certification schemes, this is just the beginning. "We expect significant additional certifications at all of our locations in the years to come, he claims, and emphasizes that some companies are signaling a need for certification of up to 50,000 people. - When they knock on the door, we'll be ready, promises Thorén.
According to IECEx, the Ex Certifying Bodies (ExCB's) play an important role in bringing attention to the IECEx CoPC Scheme. IECEx Executive Secretary, MrChris Agius says; “The objective of the IECEx CoPC Scheme is to make the world a safer place and to use the principles of conformity assessment to provide employers and others with the confidence that the personnel working in or near hazardous areas containing explosive atmospheres have been independently certified as competent to do so according to world’s best practice requirements. The ExCB's are essential partners of IEC and providers to industry in this endeavour. Local presence and availability of active and future- focused ExCB’s in the market place is crucial in order to grow the scheme.”
Associates international partners
Availability is a key foundation for growth. In the last year, Trainor has quality assured and affiliated with several international partners, which, on behalf of Trainor Certification, organizes IECEx CoPC exams for local candidates. Trainor Certification issues and mark all exams, and make the final certification decision. In India, Karandikar Laboratories are well underway, while Capeserve in Malaysia is in the start-up phase of its "Assessment Center" and they are expected to be approved in near future. In Korea, Trainor co-operates with the company Kiqus, in addition to all certifications made by Trainor itself. Several companies in several locations have expressed their interest in becoming "Outsourced Assessment Centers" for Trainor. "We cannot manage to certify everyone alone. Therefore, we welcome all companies who wish to work actively to promote IECEx personnel certification. Potentially, there are hundreds of thousands of Ex personnel worldwide who can and should be certified, "says Thorén.
Should be a standard in all countries
Ex-work is carried out in many areas of society, both nationally and internationally. In addition to the oil and energy industry, mines, petrol stations, chemical processing plants, hospital operators, aircraft recycling and hangars and sewerage treatment plants, among others, are also considered explosive areas. Work in connection with grain handling, woodworking and light metal work involving metal dust and fine particles can also be considered as Ex-work. The largest oil companies and installation owners increasingly require IECEx CoPC for their subcontractors. "Although many still hesitates to establish the certification as a standard for all their employees, we see the tendency for large companies in the oil and gas sector to demand IECEx CoPC certification for assignments that are subcontracted," says Thorén. There are also several large companies worldwide who consider using IECEx CoPC as a standard for their employees, to measure and document competence. "This is our goal, to make IECEx CoPC a standard in all countries. That would make it easier, safer and cheaper for everyone in the industry, "Thorén concludes.
The Trainor Group is an international specialist company offering training, consultancy services and hire of qualified personnel within the areas of electrical safety, automation and processes within the oil and gas sector.