It has been recognised that the basic competence unit IECEx 001 (the foundation for the other nine units) is probably on the complex side for someone who is new to working in hazardous areas. Therefore, from January a new unit IECEx 000 “Certificate of Basic Knowledge” is available, based only on a knowledge test. This will indicate that the individual concerned has a basic knowledge, but is not able to demonstrate a specific competence in the Ex field. At the same time, unit Ex 001 will be beefed up, to ensure that the relevant concepts are understood before moving on to the other units Ex 002 to Ex 010.
To get certification for any of the units beyond Ex 000 and Ex 001 demands a fair effort on the part of the candidate, spending between two and five days at the assessment centre, dependant on how many, and which, units are involved. Five of the units involve extended periods working with model assemblies. Unit Ex 005, “Repair and Overhaul”, requires demonstration of the full process for the type of equipment in scope. All of this is after logging educational qualifications, training records and work experience, validated by the employer. There is no other world-wide scheme that can provide equal confidence in the certificate holder. Remember that the IECEx CoPC Scheme is not tied in with any training course, so the certification body has no added incentive to ensure that candidates pass the rigorous tests.